My friend Liam Wyatt is the inaugural “Wikipedian in Residence” at the British Museum. He is there for a month (until Wikimania), and is building a program of outreach to the community and connections within the British Museum to improve Wikipedia articles related to the Museum and its contents. He hopes to make it a model program for other cultural institutions that want to improve their Wikipedia articles but don’t know how to go about it. You can read about their latest achievement, the “Backstage pass” program, here; 40 Wikimedians turned up to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum and learn more about it, and in turn produced 15 articles and many photos. The Museum stepped up in turn by offering a prize to the first 5 “Featured Articles” created about the Museum or its contents.
All in all this is really a fantastic partnership all around, and a daring experiment for both the Museum and Liam. I hope it goes well. I don’t edit much these days, but in support during the month of June I intend to spend my limited time editing British Museum-related articles — I’ll try to do my part to help show other museums around the world what the editing community can do when we put our mind to something. I’m particularly interested in getting the article about the British Museum Reading Room — one of my favorite places in the world, someplace I make a point of visiting every time I’m in London — up to scratch, and would welcome help.