Identifier

etd-06102013-153909

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Art

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

On December 1, 2011, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, launched a new website that presented a completely new format for its museum’s online presence and a new strategy for museums in general. The Walker’s new site adopts an online journalistic platform for its homepage, which it dubbed its “front page.” It functions as an online arts magazine showcasing the museum’s activities, exhibitions, informational resources and collections material, but also placed in a wider field of related cultural material aggregated from other online sources. Indeed, the new website is distinct from any previous museum website on these two points: one, it focuses on producing a wide variety of authored information through its articles and several blogs as its main driver of procuring online attention, and, two, it presents information aggregated from other sources outside of the Walker. These methods are what it deems its editorial focus. Yet, it also means pulling the wider field of arts activity into direct contact with its own institution. Though similar online strategies are nothing new, in general, arts critics and media reviews have deemed the website innovative since it is novel for a museum to use these methods on its homepage and to acknowledge, so prominently, its place in a wider cultural field. Though it may be unusual for a museum website, both the Walker’s production of editorialized content and its online engagement within the larger arts sphere through aggregated content actually bolster the museum’s ongoing institutional aims and functions. Moreover, while it appears to be an informative website that provides access to different types or sources of information, the Walker Art Center’s website ultimately functions to expand the museum’s institutional power as it attempts to exert more control in the arts community and over its audience.

Date

2013

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Ryan, Susan E

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