Because I'm involved in a local history project with ambitions of putting Pocahontas County collections and archives on line, I was very interested to see this article about a Smithsonian Museum: Going to Meet Its Public--Indian Museum Will Put Entire Collection Online By Jacqueline Trescott, Washington Post, January 30, 2009.
Even with three locations in its empire, the National Museum of the American Indian can display barely 1 percent of its 800,000 objects. To help close that gap, the museum has decided to set up a digital showcase.
On Monday, the museum plans to launch its "Fourth Museum" to give scholars, students, teachers, cultural historians and those far away from the museum's homes in Washington and New York the opportunity to look into its archives.
The move has been in the works for nearly three years, as staff reexamined each item and its scholarship. The online project, part of the museum's regular Web site, will begin with 5,500 items and photographs. The goal is to have all 800,000 objects on the Web site, but it will take at least four years to achieve that.
I immediately looked up the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, but there is no hint there of what is to come. At present, it's a singing and dancing brochure for the physical museums in Washington D.C. and New York City. We'll have to check back on Monday.