Title page for ETD etd-06102013-153909

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Wilburn, Rae Jung
URN etd-06102013-153909
Title The Walker Art Center Website: A Study of Cultural Administration
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Art
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Ryan, Susan E Committee Chair
Pomeroy, Jordana Committee Member
Savage, Matthew Committee Member
  • art
  • museum
  • network
  • cultural administration
  • walker art center
  • museum website
  • social media
Date of Defense 2013-05-13
Availability unrestricted
On December 1, 2011, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, launched a new website that presented a completely new format for its museumís online presence and a new strategy for museums in general. The Walkerís new site adopts an online journalistic platform for its homepage, which it dubbed its ďfront page.Ē It functions as an online arts magazine showcasing the museumís 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 Walkerís production of editorialized content and its online engagement within the larger arts sphere through aggregated content actually bolster the museumís 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 Centerís website ultimately functions to expand the museumís institutional power as it attempts to exert more control in the arts community and over its audience.
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