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  • 1.  NFT's - current thinking?

    Posted 05-26-2022 11:36 AM
    Short post here to find out about the current thinking regarding NFT's and museums. Hot topic? Waning topic? Here to stay? What is an NFT?

    Looking forward to comments and/or links that encompass successes and challenges.

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    Ellen Endslow
    Director of Collections/Curator
    Chester County History Center
    West Chester PA
    Chester County History Center
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    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more


  • 2.  RE: NFT's - current thinking?

    Posted 05-27-2022 07:22 AM
    Your question is well timed. The New York Times published an article on Wednesday on this very topic: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/25/arts/design/museums-nfts.html

    Part of the discussion is about how museums are leveraging their collection to generate revenue.  My thought is that a  digital "screen" version, or backlighted print of an existing work becomes a completely different representation.  The artist worked with pigments reflecting light and not pixels generating light.  How does what is essentially a screensaver image on your computer justify the values that these reproduction NFT's command?  Should NFT's live exclusively in the digital domain from creation through display?

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    Michael Oliveras
    Goppion Museum Workshop, Inc
    Middleton MA
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    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more


  • 3.  RE: NFT's - current thinking?

    Posted 05-27-2022 08:31 AM

    Thanks for this quick reply. You raise additional nuanced questions that help develop thinking about NFTs.

     

    Ellen E. Endslow

    Director of Collections/Curator

    Chester County History Center

    225 N. High Street

    West Chester, PA  19380

    610-692-4066 x257

     




    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more


  • 4.  RE: NFT's - current thinking?

    Posted 05-27-2022 09:30 AM
    Edited by Brendan Ciecko 05-27-2022 09:34 AM

    Great question, Ellen!

    I've been keeping a close eye on this space for a while now, and it's safe to say that there is no consensus. While NFTs are a fascinating evolution of the digital economy and have lots of potential for revenue generation, the past weeks have shown us how volatile and speculative cryptocurrency and NFTs are.

    We are bound to see just as many headlines "Museums Are Cashing In on NFTs" (New York Times) as we are "4 reasons why museums aren't cashing in on NFTs yet" (The Conversation), and what works for one museum might not work for another, but such is the case for just about anything.

    At a minimum, if you're interested in seeing how museums are engaging with the topic of NFTs in these early days, we've compiled a list of who is doing what (selling NFTs, hosting lectures, acquiring NFTs, etc.)

    Also worthy of note, @Elizabeth Merritt (AAM's Center for the Future of Museums) wrote an insightful piece in March which provides a great primer and questions to ask yourself if you're considering exploring NFTs for your museum. Highly recommended read.

    Hope that is helpful, and just like you, I'm also looking forward to other comments, thoughts, etc. on this topic!​

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    Brendan Ciecko
    CEO & Founder
    Cuseum
    Boston MA
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    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more


  • 5.  RE: NFT's - current thinking?

    Posted 05-27-2022 09:57 AM

    Thanks, Brendan. I appreciate the comments and the links to follow-up.

     

    Ellen E. Endslow

    Director of Collections/Curator

    Chester County History Center

    225 N. High Street

    West Chester, PA  19380

    610-692-4066 x257

     

     




    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more


  • 6.  RE: NFT's - current thinking?

    Posted 05-27-2022 09:38 AM
    From my perspective, they are the latest in high-priced beanie babies. Limited market appeal but could add incremental cash for short-term gain. Profit, yes; profit center, no. They are basically trading cards that can generate minor royalties over time if you hit the right market. Maybe good PR to high net worth folks or recalcitrant donors, but the alignment to the mission is questionable. Definitely will be UBIT income but not EBIT. As museums, I would think about retaining at least four of any release, three for later sale if the market increases over time (imagine if you had three of Mikey Mantle's rookie trading cards in your attic and an equal number of what's-his-name's), and one to accession as a unique born-digital artifact that is an augmentation to your current collections or intangible cultural materials never to be sold.   There is no clarity right now on how to accession, handle, archive, and maintain born-digital material culture, but we're starting to see the necessity of that policy in all museums.  NFT's give a museum the opportunity to define their born-digital accessioning and deaccessioning policy, and that's a very important exercise right now.

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    John Fraser PhD
    President & CEO, Knology
    Editor-in-Chief, Curator: The Museum Journal
    New York NY
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    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more


  • 7.  RE: NFT's - current thinking?

    Posted 05-27-2022 09:56 AM

    Thanks, John. I appreciate the comments.

     

     

    Ellen E. Endslow

    Director of Collections/Curator

    Chester County History Center

    225 N. High Street

    West Chester, PA  19380

    610-692-4066 x257

     

     




    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more


  • 8.  RE: NFT's - current thinking?

    Posted 06-02-2022 08:25 PM
    I found it helpful to learn more about NFTs and these videos were especially helpful (note - you don't really need to watch the screen, you can treat these like podcasts if that makes it easier). In short, John Fraser's comparison to Beanie Babies is a good one.

    The first one is 2 hours long and the presenter (Dan Olson) did his best to keep it as informative as possible. 2 hours was truly the minimum for him to be able to give a full explanation. The second is an interview with Dan Olson and it's an hour long. The third is 45 minutes long and by a lawyer explaining some of the current legal issues, including misleading terminology, copyright, and consumer protection. He does make a reference to Dan Olson...due to the lack of other in-depth explanations that's hard to avoid right now.


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    Mamiko Carroll
    Information Specialist
    Hawaii State Art Museum
    Honolulu HI
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    AAM Annual Meeting & MuseumExpo, Baltimore, May 16-19, 2024, click to learn more