Net Neutrality and the Future of Museums Online

We at Museums and the Web are deeply concerned about the impact of the new Internet regulations proposed by FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler. The  new rules would allow ISPs to charge a premium for those (wealthy companies) who can afford to pay to deliver their content better and faster to their online audiences. Needless to say, museums, libraries and archives, not to mention artists, writers, scholars, and everyone else publishing digital content online without the financial backing of global conglomerates like ESPN, Disney, Google, Yahoo, Apple, (fill in the blank) would struggle to compete. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which the only way museum content gets seen online is if the museum has done a deal with a major online publisher.

Are you and your museum colleagues concerned? Will you and your museum’s director contact local representatives, the FCC and the press to protest? Can you sign this petition and join the “firewall” to picket the FCC in Washington, DC from May 7-15?

The Association for Computers and the Humanities has written this open letter signed by 33 presidents, chairs, founders, leaders, and editors of 27 major, international digital humanities scholarly organizations and platforms. What can museums do to lend their considerable voice and constituency to the movement? We’d like to hear from you and invite all who want to preserve freedom of speech and equal access to the Internet to get involved TODAY, before the FCC’s vote on May 15.

Here are links to online resources and organizations who are leading the protest. Please add more in the comments on this post!

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About Nancy Proctor

Nancy Proctor is Director of The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture and of the MuseWeb Foundation, the new non-profit initiative of Museums and the Web, as well as Co-chair and Co-editor with Rich Cherry of MW’s international conferences and publications. Previously Nancy was Deputy Director of Digital Experience and Communications at the Baltimore Museum of Art (2014-2016), Head of Mobile Strategy and Initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution (2010-2014), and Head of New Media Initiatives at the Smithsonian's American Art Museum (2008-2010). With a PhD in American art history and a background in filmmaking, curation and art criticism, Nancy lectures and publishes widely on technology and innovation in museums, in French and Italian as well as English. Nancy Proctor created her first online exhibition in 1995 and went on to publish the New Art CD-ROM and website of contemporary art in the UK in 1996. She co-founded in 1998 with Titus Bicknell to present virtual tours of innovative exhibitions alongside comprehensive global museum and gallery listings. TheGalleryChannel was later acquired by Antenna Audio, where Nancy led New Product Development from 2000-2008, introducing the company’s multimedia, sign language, downloadable, podcast and cellphone tours. She also directed Antenna’s sales in France from 2006-2007, and worked with the Travel Channel’s product development team. Nancy served as program chair for the Museums Computer Network (MCN) conference 2010-2011, and co-organized the Tate Handheld conference 2008 & 2010. She started, its wiki and podcast series in 2008. She was Digital Editor of Curator: The Museum Journal from 2009-2014, and is now on the Journal's editorial board, as well as on the Board of Directors of the Omnimuseum Project.

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