My Favorite Free Downloads for Archaeology, Museums, & Outreach
There are many resources relevant to Archaeology, Museum and Outreach now available on the internet as free downloads. Below are some of my favorites as they relate to the general focus of this blog and are not already referenced by everyone and their brother/sister. Here goes:
- The New Media Consortium Horizon Project has just published their 2011 Museum Edition as a free pdf download that “is a co-production with the Marcus Institute for Digital Education in the Arts (MIDEA) and examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in education and interpretation within the museum environment.” The report begins with an executive summary followed by “Time to Adoption” discussions of different technologies. For example, under the Mobile Apps heading are the following discussions: Overview, Relevance for Museum Education and Interpretation, Mobile Apps in Practice, and Further Reading. Of particular value, each technology discussion includes links to many live examples. This publication is an excellent resource for investigating the potential of digital outreach.
- The Future of Museums and Libraries: A Discussion Guide published by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2009 is one of my favorite think pieces. The 30-page free pdf download has nine discussion themes such as building sustainable institutions, evaluating program impact, and sharing authority with the public. Each theme contains real-time examples and discussion questions that are as relevant to the small county museum as to the professional organization evaluating their outreach program. I am using this document as the basis for the final exam in my Museum Practices graduate seminar next week.
- In a similar vein the Center for the Future of Museums site has several excellent reports on current and future trends. The 2008 Museums and Society 2034 discusses demographic, economic, communication, and cultural forecasts. Each section includes proposals on how museums must evolve to meet these shifting trends. The 2020 report Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums focuses specifically on ethnic demographic trends in the United States and the need for museums to shift their orientations to serve the evolving public. Both reports are available as free pdf downloads.
- The Society for American Archaeology’s Archaeological Record is a fantastic resource for exploring different outreach themes of the discipline. I previously posted about the Careers Issue of the Record. Other themed issues of interest include a history of archaeology in the media and applied archaeology curriculums, Published five times per year, the magazine is available as a free pdf download.
- Kevin Smith at Middle Tennessee State University provides a prime venue for archaeology outreach with the Tennessee Archaeology journal. Each issue is available as a single free pdf download. Although I am certain formats will continue to evolve through time, the journal is in the vanguard in providing a readily accessible public resource for the types of archaeological reports that either never make it beyond conference proceedings or are buried in hard to find regional journals or Cultural Resource Management Reports. Tennessee Archaeology is a step forward in the discipline’s need for public accountability.
- For one stop preservation and conservation needs you cannot beat the National Park Service for their Tech Notes and the three-volume National Park Service Museum Handbook, all free pdf downloads. The latter is of particular value as a comprehensive “reference guide on how to manage, preserve, document, access and use museum collections.” I find these publications ideal to assist interested lay persons in preserving family heirlooms and other privately held cultural heritage objects. The straightforward style of these reports provides an excellent opportunity to educate the public on stewardship issues.
- The Visitor Studies Association provides free pdf downloads including articles from their bi-annual peer-reviewed journal Visitor Studies. The VSA is the “premier professional organization focusing on all facets of the visitor experience in museums, zoos, nature centers, visitor centers, historic sites, parks and other informal learning settings.”
- The proceedings from the 2011 Museums and the Web Conference held in Philadelphia this past April are accessible on-line in a variety of formats. With sessions covering topics such as data storage, gaming, organizational changes, e-book publishing, the proceedings provide current thinking on a range of museum online issues. Some of the online resources are typical conference paper texts, others link to Slideshare PowerPoint files, and others link to institutional websites that host not just the presentation but related materials as well.
The above list just scratches the surface of available online downloadable resources for Outreach efforts in archaeology and museums. What other downloads have you found particularly useful?