2010 Horizon.museum Short List

2010 Horizon.museum Report Short List pdf

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

Critical Challenges

Key Trends

Open Content

Time-to-Adoption: Two to Three Years
Open content is a growing movement that focuses on sharing and reusability and thrives on the ready availability of a wide range of content. Open content offers museums a potential alternative to traditionally published materials such as catalogues and coffee-table books, monographs and thematic studies that is highly customizable and cost-effective. The open content movement depends on a community of contributors and users who are willing to create and release high-quality educational and interpretive content in a variety of media under licenses that make it easy to reuse the materials. With increased access to information enabled by open content and other means, the role of the museum is undergoing a slow but definite change from the guardian of cultural or intellectual authority and dispenser of knowledge, to the guide and coach for audiences faced with an overabundance of resources. People have unparalleled access to information; what is needed from museums is help cultivating the skills of finding, assessing, interpreting, and synthesizing information.

Relevance for Museum Education and Interpretation

Open content is sharable, thus opening the door both to cross-institutional sharing and to new interpretations of cultural heritage materials. Museums can use open content as a way to transition themselves away from unprofitable rights-and-reproductions practices.Visitors to museums possess enormous expertise. When museums make the intellectual assets of collecting institutions available without unnecessary restrictions on reuse, this can catalyze unexpected discoveries and knowledge creation outside the walls of the institution. Communities of practice and learner groups that form around open content provide a source of support for independent or life-long learners.


  • Open Content Alliance is a collaborative effort on the part of cultural, technology, non-profit, and governmental organizations to build a digital archive of global content for universal access: http://www.opencontentalliance.org/
  • The Victoria & Albert Museum offers access to free images for personal use and academic use: http://www.vam.ac.uk/resources/buying/
  • MIT's OpenCourseWare—which provides free, online access to all of MIT's courses—serves as a model for other providers: http://ocw.mit.edu/

For Further Reading

Center for Social Media Publishes New Code of Best Practices in OCW
(Critical Commons, 25 October 2009.) Critical Commons’ Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare is a guide for content developers using fair-use material in their offerings.
Creative Commons
Creative Commons has created a set of legal tools consistent with the rules of copyright that make it not only possible but easy for people to share and build upon the work of others. The organization provides free licenses that allow anyone to create, share, and use open content.