Is there a place for Open Source Hardware in the Museum Community?

Open Source Hardware AudioConexus

 

The open source movement has caught the attention of designers, artists, and developers around the world. With the free use of designs, specifications, and source code, the open source hardware movement is creating new innovations and exciting new products.

Open Source Hardware for Museums

  • Do you support the open source movement?
  • Given visible transparency, do you see value in tweaking open source hardware and software for your needs (if it creates new social engagement in your museum)?
  • What does open source mean to you?

We’ve been kicking around the idea of creating an open source hardware solution for museums to enhance visitor experiences through a new kind of social engagement. Partly because the project is so cool, and secondarily, because we support the merits of open source hardware and software. Based on a few phone calls we’ve had with museums, people have been really supportive and positive about our ideas.

(A sincere thank you to everyone who contributed their time to answer our questions when we called).

We see open source hardware as a new model for product development.

If we embarked on an open source hardware and software project, we’d want to share our hardware specifications and source code with the community. This is because open source hardware and software enthusiasts could suggest new features and even shape our solutions by making hardware (and software) improvements by directly modifying what we’ve contributed.

How Do Some People Feel About Open Source?

While the open source hardware movement is growing amongst electronics enthusiasts, we wanted to learn more about the open source software movement and its impact on museums?

To learn more about how people felt about open source we reached out to a handful of people in the museum community over the phone. We spoke with Directors and curators about their experience with open-source software.

Some of the people we spoke with had rallied behind the open source software movement because they saw it as an opportunity to develop solutions based on standards created by their peers. The benefits included features, peer review, clean design, reliability, maintainability, and collaboration amongst museums seeking alternative solutions.

However, these same people stated they had experienced resistance to change. The common thread in our discussions was open source software, with all of its benefits, was not enough to entice some people to work together towards a common cause.

What Do YOU Think of Open Source?

We recognize that our initial research is based on a few conversations. That’s why we want to hear from you.

Do you value the open source movement? Do you believe there are opportunities to be working together on open source solutions?

We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment regarding how you feel about open source? Does it benefit museums? Should we take a kick at the can?

Thanks in advance for your comments!

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