Smithsonian Commons project makes museums nerdier, more accessible, awesome

Photo courtesy of
‘Smithsonian Castle – Moon, Stars, & Sun – 3-6-09’
courtesy of ‘mosley.brian’

Most of us in DC know we’re lucky to have the Smithsonian in our backyard. Its museums are free, they cater to the nerd/art lover/history buff/curious tourist in all of us, and they’re right here for all of us to enjoy. Now, thanks to what looks like a pretty darn cool online initiative called Smithsonian Commons, they’re about to take all awesome culture locked up in their walls and go global.

In their own words:

We think there are four things that, together, will make the Smithsonian Commons a unique and powerful tool. The Smithsonian Commons will be vast, findable, shareable, and free.

In an Internet world where so many people are trying to make a buck, it’s refreshing to see the Smithsonian take its free-for-everyone approach and find ways to adapt it for a wider online audience. They’re already involved in online communities like Twitter* and Flickr, and this seems to be the next step in the spirit of that connection.

The project is only a prototype right now, and its release in such an unfinished form (though one that clearly had a ton of work put into it) is a pretty clear statement of what the Smithsonian intends the project to be. “Here’s this thing we just worked really hard on,” they seem to be saying. “Now please help us make it even better.” So have at it, DC. Dig in and help them make it even better.

*Sidenote: If you’re not following the many Smithsonian museums on Twitter, you ought to be. Start here for the main account, and go here for a listed collection of more.

Erin McCann

Erin takes pictures. Lots of them. And then she tweets about them.