Britain Loves Wikipedia: Wikimedia seeks underexposed UK Museum

Zoom In - Exhibition at the Great CourtBritain Loves Wikipedia is a scavenger hunt and free content photography contest that will be held in museums and cultural institutions across the UK, with the aim of increasing the number of pictures available to illustrate Wikipedia articles and inspire new articles. The event will kick off with a launch event at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Sunday 31 January 2010, followed by a series of events each weekend at locations around the UK. Museums looking for more visitors and exposure are still welcome to sign up.

The event runs throughout February 2010, with members of the (Wikipedia) public visiting participating museum across the UK to photograph out-of-copyright parts of their collections. Rather than just photographing all objects – or specific ones – the contest will be themed with pre-specified targets, to be decided jointly by the museums and Wikimedia UK. Prizes will be awarded in variety of categories including most photographs taken; best photographs, … . The photographs entered into the competition will then be made available on Wikimedia Commons, which is an image library used by a number of websites, including Wikipedia.

Collections Trust sums up a few good reasons for museums to participate in the ‘Britain Loves Wikipedia’ (originally ‘London Loves Wikipedia’) campaign:

  • Uploaded under a Creative Commons license, the photos can be (re)used by the museums.
  • The museum can then boast about working with Wikipedia.
  • The museum will get more articles about its collection on Wikipedia, leading to more exposure and – hopefully – more visitors.

Add to that reasons #5 why museums should have an open photography policy, and this is a must-do campaign to promote your museum! Still not convinced?Wikimedia offer the ‘Wikipedia Loves Art‘ project as an example of succesful cooperation – over 300 photographs just at the Victoria and Albert Museum – between cultural institutions and Wikipedia. Also, just look at how much great photographs – stunning images by Heritage Key’s Graecyn included – and promotion the ‘Terra Cotta Warriors’ exhibition got out of opening the museum to bloggers and photographers alike for just one hour.

For more information on ‘Britain Loves Wikipedia’, see the wiki-entry on I’m curious to see which (ancient) British museums will sign up, and if the British Museum will decide to join. Regardless, we’ll be charging our DSLR’s batteries in time.