From podcasts to The Pen: digital adventures in the United States

Courtney Johnston, The Dowse Art Museum, New Zealand

One of the joys of our connected world is that living somewhere far-flung (like Wellington, New Zealand) is no barrier to staying on top of exciting developments in your professional field - whether that's opening up collections at the Rijksmuseum or running internet cat festivals at the Walker Art Center.

At the same time, following these projects through blog posts and conference presentations can only tell you so much - and we all know that the true insights come from physically experiencing the products and meeting the creators kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face).

In September this year, with the support of a Winston Churchill Memorial Scholarship, I'm undertaking a research trip to the United States to experience in person many of the exciting projects and products we've been hearing about over the past few years. I'm visiting museums and galleries in Dallas, Washington, Baltimore, New York, Minneapolis, Indianapolis and LA, looking at projects including the Ask app at Brooklyn Museum, the membership programme at the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Pen at the Cooper Hewitt.

My presentation will give a run down of what it's like to be a physical visitor at these institutions, and reflect on how the spirit of innovation and community engagement might be brought back to all our institutions.