A Workshop at the United Nations

I was lucky to visit New York last week, mostly under the auspices of participating in an early group meeting about a new initiative coming out of the United Nations, the UN Live Museum.


Before I attended the UN meeting, I visited The Cloisters at the very top of Manhattan, and visited with Seb Chan and my old friend and former colleague at Flickr, Aaron Cope, at the Cooper-Hewitt to see their fantastic digital work in the flesh. It was exciting to watch people in the space using those gorgeous tables designed by Local Projects.

Me and Aa

I also met with Fiona Romeo and the digital content and strategy team at MoMA, and really enjoyed the One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Works exhibition. That same day I paid a quick visit to Dragan Espenscheid and Heather Corcoran at Rhizome, who were understandably in a bit of a frenzy in the lead-up to their amazing Seven On Seven: Empathy and Disgust event held last weekend. I’m a big fan of the amazing emulation/preservation digital archaeology work that Dragan has been focused on lately. Actually, not that lately, he’s been doing amazing things with the old web for years.

But, so, the United Nations (!). There’s something brewing there that’s being called the UN Live Museum, and it all sounds pretty exciting. Frankly, I found being at the UN itself more inspiring than I’d anticipated. It’s a great human endeavour, was founded in 1945, and is a heartening institution, to me. We enjoyed a quick tour of the building itself, including The General Assembly and the Security Council before settling down to brainstorm and jam about the potential of a global museum.

The General Assembly

There’s not much online about it yet, but there’s an outline available. I must admit to being an advocate for generating thousands of small museums across the world, celebrating and thinking about purpose and principles of the UN. Imagine if a museum was dropped in behind along the trail of peacekeepers…

It was also nice to see David Weinberger again, and to meet Doc Searls (who proceeded to tell me how many of his CC-licensed photos are now part of Wikimedia – yeah!). These guys are proper Old Skool internet folk, and wrote the foundational Cluetrain Manifesto back in 1999. All you young whippersnappers should study that if you haven’t. David wrote up the visit too.

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