Profile

Matthew MacArthur

Director of New Media

M.A. in History, Claremont Graduate University
B.A. in American Studies, University of Oregon

Role in Museum 

In my capacity I oversee the development and maintenance of the Museum's online presence via our website, blog, and social media, as well as other digital offerings such as interactive kiosks and mobile devices. Our department works with staff from across the Museum to develop ideas, create compelling content, and produce award-winning products in collaboration with many top designers.  I also think about the Museum’s online strategy—how we can further the Museum’s mission by leveraging our rich collections and expert staff to create more engaging, multidirectional experiences that promote a deeper understanding of American history.

Projects 

In addition to the continued publication of world-class history content, we have been experimenting with ways to increase both the quality and quantity of story sharing about the American experience—both from the Museum\'s perspective, and also creating opportunities for our visitors to participate. This has led to a number of initiatives that make use of various social media, increased use of video and other visual media, and planning for future museum experiences and spaces that incorporate social technologies.

Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition 

Participant, 2010-11 Smithsonian Leadership Development Program

Professional Affiliations 

American Association of Museums Media & Technology Committee

Publications

"Get Real! The Role of Objects in the Digital Age." In Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World, ed. Bill Adair, Benjamin Filene, and Laura Koloski. Philadelphia: Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, 2011.

Examines the respective merits of physical and digital museum objects for purposes of research, education, and emotional connection.

"Small Towns and Big Cities: How Museums Foster Community On-line," in J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Museums and the Web 2010: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics.

Borrowing terminology from German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies, this paper uses the archetypal qualities inherent in traditional village life (Gemeinschaft) vs. life in big cities (Gesellschaft) as a framework for understanding museum approaches to on-line community.

"Do We Need a Social Media Policy?" Museum (American Association of Museums), November-December 2010

This contribution to the magazine's "You Asked for It" department answers common questions about museums and social media policies.

“Can Museums Allow Online Users to Become Participants?” In The Digital Museum: A Think Guide, ed. Herminia Din and Phyllis Hecht. Washington, DC: American Association of Museums, 2007.
"Museums Remixed." Exhibitionist (National Association for Museum Exhibition), Fall 2007.

Recaps and restates principles discussed in two "Museums Remixed" sessions presented at the 2007 AAM annual conference.

“Web 2.0 and Museums.” History News (American Association for State and Local History), Autumn 2007.

Explains the basics of Web 2.0 and what benefits user participation might hold for museums.

“Electronic Outreach at the National Museum of American History.” The Federalist (Society for History in the Federal Government), Fall 2006.

A summary of electronic outreach offerings at the Museum.

“Building a Robust and Fully-Integrated Web Program.” In Museums and the Web 2006: Proceedings, ed. J. Trant and D. Bearman. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics, 2006. http://www.archimuse.com/mw2006/papers/macarthur/macarthur.html.

Describes the factors involved in building a successful online strategy and designing a museum Web site.