Wiki Museum Crawl

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Wiki Museum Crawl at WikiConference 2016

Museums Partnering with Wikipedia

Wikipedia is the world's largest reference work and consistently ranks among the top 10 most visited web sites. Ever since the British Museum hosted the first Wikipedian in Residence to work with curators in 2010, world class museums have been collaborating with Wikipedia's volunteer community to improve articles, upload images and linking collections to Wikipedia.

There are now regular collaborations between Wikipedia and galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) such as the Louvre, Smithsonian Institution, US National Archives, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, and many others.

Benefits to museums?

Wikipedia editors work An Van Camp, Assistant Keeper of Dutch and Flemish prints at the British Museum
  • Furthers the public education mission and impact of cultural institutions
  • Generate more online traffic and awareness of collections through linkages to Wikipedia
  • Engagement with the public through in-person events such as Wikipedia meetups

How can we get involved in Wiki Museum Crawl Day?

WikiConference North America is an annual gathering of Wikipedia editors and volunteers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The third annual conference is being held in San Diego, California at the Central Public Library from October 7–10, 2016. The weekend features technical, cultural and academic presentations on Wikimedia-related outreach activities and workshops.

Friday, October 7, is dedicated to engagement with San Diego cultural institutions. We propose a one-day Wiki Museum Crawl Day, a Wikipedia editing and multimedia event with Balboa Park institutions that will be the largest single-day Wikipedia collaboration with museums anywhere in the world.

We are asking museums to identify three high-profile articles in Wikipedia that could be improved using an institution's resources - exhibition catalogs, curator knowledge, digital assets, web site information, or more. On Friday, dozens of volunteer Wikipedia editors would work at Balboa Park to improve those articles as much as possible in one day, by writing prose, fact checking, adding references, uploading imagery or shooting video.

The project provides a way for museums to help improve high-impact Wikipedia content without requiring editing or learning the technical details. However, training that day for interested staff and volunteers would be provided. Some examples of articles selected by museums for Wikipedia collaboration include:

  • The British Museum worked with Wikipedia editors to improve articles on the Rosetta Stone and the Hoxne Hoard (the largest hoard of late Roman silver and gold discovered in Britain, dating back to the 4th and 5th century C.E.) The articles now include high-quality photos and references, and are viewed hundreds of thousands of times a month.
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art identified three articles to improve based on their collections: Annunciation Triptych, a 15th century Renaissance altarpiece; Armor of Emperor Ferdinand I and the Queen Mother Pendant Mask from Nigeria.

Articles related to an organization's subject matter expertise are encouraged. However, we prefer that they not be about the institution itself, such as staff members, buildings or specific departments.

How would museums participate?

The ways to participate are flexible, in increasing order of commitment:

  • Identify three high profile Wikipedia articles related to the your institution’s domain of knowledge that need improvement.
  • Provide a reference material list, such as print publications, (the institution’s or otherwise), web pages, references, etc. that would help Wikipedia editors improve the article.
  • Provide free admission to Wikipedians to your museum/institution for the October 7-10 period. This would allow Wikipedians to enter and learn more about an artifact or topic from the organization's exhibits.
  • Provide access to a room at their institution with reference books, electrical outlets and Internet/Wifi access that Wikipedia editors could use to meet and work on laptop computers to improve those articles.
  • Make a curator or experienced docent available for assistance in critiquing or over the shoulder co-editing the Wikipedia articles in question with experienced editors
  • Allow Wikipedia editors to video or audio record a review of the Wikipedia article by a curator or staff member, which can be saved and referred to later

Summary of events on Wiki Museum Crawl Day

  • Beforehand:
    • GLAM institution identifies three high-profile articles that could be improved
    • Wikipedia editors help evaluate and assess the quality of writing, references, accuracy, features (images, information boxes, categorization), cross-referencing, et al.
    • Prepare staff, admission passes, rooms, materials or infrastructure to facilitate Wikipedia editors
  • Wiki Museum Crawl Day:
    • Wikipedia editors visit museums and help improve the articles in one day by editing text, taking photos, or to collect the best resources to improve them
    • Wikipedia training session available for museum staff, volunteers and general public
    • Evaluation and report at the end of the day, resulting in a wiki page that would summarize the results

We're looking forward to your participation, and please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions!


  • Andrew Lih - Wikimedia DC <>
  • Richard Knipel - Wikimedia NYC <>