The Brooklyn Museum is awesome:

In October 2005, when Ms. Bernstein took charge of the museum’s technology department, administrators gave her license to experiment with Web-based technologies to better fulfill their mission: to build a bridge between the rich cultural heritage in the museum’s collections and the unique experience of each visitor. And in online communities across the Internet, from Facebook to Flickr, she put a face to the museum’s 560,000-square-foot, Beaux-Arts building nestled in Prospect Heights. The Brooklyn Museum was one of the first museums in the country to actively participate in these Web spaces, using them to communicate directly with members, to chat with artists and to allow visitors themselves to be curators, mostly for free, without infringing on the nonprofit museum’s budget. Over the last three years, Ms. Bernstein has turned the Brooklyn Museum into a model for 21st-century art institutions everywhere.

But this month, Ms. Bernstein is facing one of her most experimental challenges yet. On Jan. 3, with hopes of increasing revenues as well as the institution’s popularity, she and Will Cary, the museum’s membership manager, launched a new Web project: 1stfans, the museum’s first “socially networked museum membership.” For $20 a year, 1stfan members can mingle with artists and staff at a special event each month, view exclusive online content (like behind-the-scenes presentations and videos from artists and curators) and get access to the 1stfans Twitter Art Feed, which includes micro-blogging from artists and other fun stuff. It’s cheaper than the museum’s pricier $55 membership and offers goodies tailored specifically for the members of Ms. Bernstein’s community who have grown to love the museum online, and who hail from as far away as Vietnam and … Texas. So far, the museum has garnered 232 1stfans, in 14 states, nine countries and four continents.

Really interesting article about using technology to share art beyond your immediate circle.

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