Museum Selfie Day: A Retrospective

Please check the January program page for information on this weekend's events. Look for the February list (geez, already?) late next week.

Once again Museum Selfie Day has come and gone (this past Wednesday, Jan. 17). Did you participate? We had lots of selfies on the Trails of History. I've highlighted a few below, and you can find more on PHMC's Twitter account (@PHMC). To see selfies from other museums in PA, the U.S., and the world check out #MuseumSelfieDay.

Dillon took a selfie in the Visitor Center exhibit at Old Economy Village

Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here at Bushy Run Battlefield
Me with Retablo para Ruhamah by Marta Sanchez, State Museum of PA

An unofficial addition (or prequel) to this year's Museum Selfie Day was the sudden popularity of a new feature on Google's Arts and Culture app. Take a selfie using the app and Google uses facial recognition "mapping" to match your image to its collection of portraits from museums around the world. Some people like their matches, others not so much. I tried it with decidedly mixed results, including one try where it matched me with Frans Hals' Malle Babbe.

In addition to providing more ways to take selfies and connect them to museums, the app has also raised a number of issues, from privacy concerns, and more privacy concerns, to whether or not it really helps people engage with art, and the limited scope of matching images for people of color. It's a fairly clear and vibrant illustration of the important conversations going on about representation in museums. Let's hope the conversations continue.


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