Looking for inspirations

It’s getting to be that time, time to head off to the annual Museum Computer Network conference in Dallas. Very exciting! This year’s crop of sessions and workshops looks to be really interesting, with plenty of new voices!

As part of my preparations for the event, I’ve been going over my pre-conference checklist. Outrageous costume for Ignite? Check! List of work conversations I’ll try to cram in around the sessions? Check. Identify the five new people I mean to talk to, and what I want to ask them? Check and check! This year, I also have a more general question. This is where you come in, dear readers.

I was one of the participants in the NAEA Peer2Peer Hangout today on digital mindsets. It was a rocking good time, with some great speakers. You should check it out! Anyway, one of the questions had to do with looking outside the sector for inspirations for digital projects. I talked about Snowfall and Bear 71 as sites I thought did a great job of exploring rich stories with a variety of assets. This question also jibed nicely with a question I’d been rolling around in my head about the next version of PEM’s website. Namely, what does a good museum website look like in 2014? So my question for you is this:

What are your favorite online destinations of 2014, museum or not, and why?


  1. I love Brainpickings for its wealth of both substantive and quirky resources mainly on writing and creativity. I also think it is beautifully designed and easy to use. I get Sunday digest


  2. Even better than Snowfall (IMO), as a NYT Interactive, was The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/04/13/magazine/blues.html?_r=0 . It does an excellent job integrating text, musical files, photography, and video (both expository and atmospheric). Another NYTI that pulled me in was Boys in the Bunkhouse: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/03/09/us/the-boys-in-the-bunkhouse.html
    Very sad, that one.

    I’m impressed with the NYT’s work in this area and I think the frequency with which they are mentioned points to the rise of visual beauty and storytelling as primary web experiences. I also really like Exposure as a place to tell and share stories, and Medium for long-form publishing. All of these let design lead, getting out of its own way and allowing great visuals and multimedia to speak, but also give text a place to do what it does best. They don’t clutter the experience but they make it easily navigable and shareable.


  3. I absolutely agree with Grethchen Jennings, Brainpickings is an amazing source of knowledge and inspiration. I would add nasa.gov because it opens my worldview. I am an archaeologist so it is thrilling for me to leave the ground of the earth and go into space (no math and physics required!) Finally, cartoonmovement.com, where political cartoons from around the world are published. It makes the news stories more personal and I am always inspired by the sense of community I get.


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