More than a Museum: A Digital Strategy for The Warhol

Museums, like nearly all organizations across public and private sectors, are acknowledging the enormous impact emerging technologies have on their missions, operations and business models. The evolving digital landscape promises benefits that touch virtually all areas of a museum’s internal-facing processes and external-facing projects.

How, then, can an institution with finite resources make the most of this vast digital promise? In what ways can we leverage technology for the most institutional impact? Can we ensure our digital efforts are actually serving a need, and not leading us down a never-ending path of least resistance?

The Andy Warhol Museum is tackling these questions head-on with our first formal digital strategy. During the past few months, a cross-departmental & cross-hierarchical team here at The Warhol has been working to identify distinct focus areas for our digital activities over the next two years. Today, we’re excited to share with you More than a Museum, The Andy Warhol Museum’s digital strategy for 2015–2017.

Aligning Digital Strategy with Institutional Priorities

The museum’s new digital strategy is rooted in and aligned with the The Warhol’s overall strategic plan and vision statement, which asserts, “The Andy Warhol Museum is the global keeper of Andy Warhol’s legacy, and through developing necessary resources, it maintains that reputation.”

Each area of focus in the museum’s digital strategy is fundamentally tied to the organization’s broader institutional goals. Between 2015 and 2017, we will be digitally-focused on strategic thrusts of Experiences and Engagement, Narratives and Access, Organizational Adaptation and Financial Solvency.

A Living Document

The digital strategy is designed to be a living, organic document that can evolve as technology rapidly evolves the world around us. We’ve intentionally left tactical activities as open-ended as possible. Each section of the strategy closes with Strategy In Action, an area dedicated to projects, programs and initiatives that tactically meet strategic objectives of that section. We intend to regularly update tactics employed over the next few years that fulfill our digital mission.

While this approach gives the museum the freedom to be opportunistic with tactics, it also leaves us publicly accountable for maintaining momentum and progress. This is both exciting and scary.

An Open-Source Resource

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, we’ve decided to open source this document. We are using a plain text and git workflow, and publishing it openly on GitHub. That basically means all revisions and updates to the strategy are logged and published, and the document itself can become a multi-pronged collaborative work.

The digital strategy is released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license, which means individuals and institutions can use, adapt and distribute our source in non-commercial applications as long as they make their derivative work available under a similar license. In the future, we will participate actively in the open source community. This is our first contribution; there will be many more to come.

It Takes a Village

Drafting and publishing a comprehensive digital strategy is not, and should not be, a one-person or one-department project. Our strategy touches nearly every area of the museum. Therefore, it is very important that everyone on staff understand the priorities and assist with implementation.

Huge thanks go out to those who played an instrumental role in molding the document into its current version: Eric Shiner, Patrick Moore, Rachel Baron-Horn, Ed Motznik, Jessica Warchall, Rick Armstrong, Amber Morgan, Greg Burchard and Geralyn Huxley.

Next Steps

Now that the strategy has been drafted, ratified and published, the hard work of implementing it can begin. We’ve shipped some projects already in the first quarter of 2015 and have some truly unique, mission-meeting initiatives underway. I’m excited to share progress here on The Warhol blog as we move forward.

Jeffrey Inscho

Jeffrey Inscho is the Manager of Digital Engagement at The Andy Warhol Museum.