My AH-HAH moment with Thesis

Amanda Belue ’15

As many of my colleagues, I began the summer in a frenzied state of research and data collection in an attempt to try and get a grasp on the enormity of my subject matter. It wasn’t long before I found myself knee-high in research but even more confused on how I was going to connect the dots between social media, content collection, and memorials/memorial museums. During one of my thesis meetings during the summer, I lamented over my problems to my Advisor, wondering what or whom I could find that would help me connect all the pieces that I had thus collected. My Advisor promptly suggested I get in contact with Dr. Nancy Proctor, Deputy Director of Digital Experience at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The conversations that followed culminated in my most important thesis revelation.

During my interactions with Dr. Proctor she kindly shared many documents with me. One of these, a document on the future of mobile technology in museums, included the idea of a museum as a distributed network in which knowledge is discovered in interactions and intersections rather then disseminated outward from a central location. Meaning, there is no central point that is considered the origin of information. That was my AH-HAH moment, stumbling across a different model of distributing information in a museum setting.
Distributed Network Model
Pre-Nancy (as I’ve dubbed the time period) I was getting bogged down in the research details, unable to see how the big picture truly connected; how these informal social connections can lead to understandable and collection worthy content within a memorial setting.
Fortunately, for my thesis, Dr. Proctor’s work primarily focuses on creating mobile content for museum through applications and downloadable software. Now the task at hand is to find a way to work through the current multi-platform museum model toward a distributed network model in a museum’s use of social media.Through this thesis revelation, I’ve stumbled upon a whole new nest of information that I’m currently weeding through and tying up the loose ends of this Masters thesis.