Digital Fellow Update: Lauren Vargas at the National Army Museum and the Museum of London

A pile of post-it notes and sharpie pens on a table

Paper and pens on a table, ready for a workshop

What problem or challenge are you addressing in your museums? i.e. what is the main objective of your research?

Across the two museums I am working with, the National Army Museum and the Museum of London, my research is exploring how to locate digital leadership. In this research, ‘leadership’ is not defined by senior management or executive job roles and responsibility; rather, leadership is explored as the practical skill of an individual to lead or guide other individuals, teams, and the museum.

To locate digital leadership at all levels of the museum, this research asks: what is the value of a digital hub as a site for shared digital skills development?

What principles / experiences / methodologies are you using to help solve this problem? What’s your next step going to be?

While the two museums share a higher level research focus, the activities I have planned over the next few months to delve into this research question differ within each museum.

National Army Museum

At the time of this research, the National Army Museum is launching a new Intranet and communication platform. This is a prime opportunity to evaluate how information is categorized, stored, and communicated across the museum, and to use this new platform to test new information and communication practices that are focused on shared outcomes versus functional areas (i.e. collections and marketing).

The activities to test and develop new practices are part of a coordinated effort to encourage all museum staff to Work Out Loud – involving the following elements, as outlined by Working Out Loud author, John Stepper:

  1. Cultivates relationships
  2. Promotes generosity
  3. Makes work visible (at all stages)
  4. Advocates purposeful discovery
  5. Encourages a growth mindset

The Intranet and communication platform for this research are philosophically positioned as a ‘digital commons,’ meaning that the digital hub is a shared or common space that consists of a variety of communities, resources and agreements for developing and managing purposeful and coordinated ways of delivering digital activities.

Museum of London

Similar to the activities planned for the National Army Museum, the activities planned within the Museum of London are also meant to learn and test Work Out Loud practices. For the Museum of London, the peer-to-peer knowledge exchange and learning are focused around cultivating digital content strategy and management skills.

Over the course of several months, a sub-set of Museum of London staff will develop a content management playbook: guidelines for how, when, and why to create digital content specific to their museum needs. This playbook is intended to be developed through a series of virtual conversations and in-person workshops.