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Crowd-sourcing and the museum

July 1, 2010

We explore and wander and discover. (Photo by Sabra Smith)

I failed to post on Foto Friday last week, and while you all dry your eyes, I”ll explain that it was because I swept my darling sons off to the Big City to celebrate No. 1 son’s Big Birthday.

We took photos — lots of photos (No. 1 son received a camera for his birthday for that express purpose).  Some of our many photos were taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue (see above).  The Met has always been one of my favorite places in all of the city.  When I lived in New York (as an impecunious publishing gal) the museum’s freebie nights were my refuge from an apartment too crowded with roommates and lacking light and air.  I visited favorite paintings and rooms and remembered the story of Mrs. Frankweiler’s mixed up files.  I seduced the man I’d marry by producing a chilled bottle of champagne from the bubbling fountain out front.  I attended lectures on fashion and literature and more.  I created traditions around the Angel Tree at Christmas and the American Wing’s blossoming cherry trees in the Spring.

In short, I claimed ownership of the museum.  I made it mine.  And now I’m letting my kids find their own favorites and create their own happy, familiar trails through the vast array of galleries, hallways, and staircases.  It gives me great joy that No. 1 son already loves the Greek and Roman Galleries and No. 2 son always insists we visit the Arms & Armor.

Cleverly, the Met decided to both celebrate and take advantage of this personal relationship with its visitors by crowd-sourcing images for a marketing campaign from submissions to its Flickr page.  The theme — “It’s Time We Met” (get it?)

The first outing of the contest/campaign resulted in almost 1,000 photographs from which seven witty, artful and amusing images were selected for use in marketing materials and ads. Click here to see the slideshow of original images and the resulting Met ads.

The 2010 “Time We Met” contest ends July 6.  (Among the judge’s many choices will be a photograph No. 1 son took on his brand new camera!)   It’s worth browsing the collection of images to see the many ways people engage with the museum and its collections.  There’s humor, there’s wonder, and there’s a special look you see on the face of someone whose imagination just took flight.

Of course, there’s also just silly.  That would be my adorable goofball son who came up with the idea for this picture (below).

Is this what they mean by “Participatory Museum”? (Photo by Sabra Smith)

UPDATE:  I thought I had added a p.s. about the contest results.  There was one winner and two runners up.  Guess who was one of the runners up?  Yup!  Rock and roll knight, seen above.  Congrats to the Youngest, for coming up with the idea.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2010 9:43 am

    This brings back a lot of my own memories! Your boys are so fortunate to have such a wonderful resource for their imaginations and developing interests and a mom who will take advantage of it. Great pic for the contest, too!

    • Sabra Smith permalink*
      July 2, 2010 9:52 am

      I think such things are traditions that get handed down. I remember my mother taking me to NYC. I remember the longing I felt at the old FAO Shwartz store for the Steiff animals. (The sons visited same store, different location and were amazed.) The only thing I remember about my early visit to the Met was having lunch next to that wonderful fountain (now gone) where the characters in The Mixed-up Files bathe. I’m still sorry that space is gone; to me it was as much a part of iconic New York as the pool at the Four Seasons. (Designed by Dorothy Draper, who incorporated the Fountain of the Muses by Carl Milles, nowadays I can imagine Don Draper of “Mad Men” having an assignation fountainside, can’t you?)
      Fountain of the Muses at the Metropolitan

      By the way, the Met has a fun guide to the museum written by E.L. Konigsberg, about how she got the idea for The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (a piece of popcorn on a chair!). Much has changed in the museum collections since she wrote the book.

  2. Lew permalink
    July 2, 2010 8:18 pm

    You are the coolest mom that exists!

  3. Sabra Smith permalink*
    July 3, 2010 12:39 pm

    Aw, shucks, Lew!

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