Be Here: Main Street

Project: Be Here: Main Street

Name: Heather Shelton @museumsago (Twitter)

Organization: MuseWeb Foundation

Be Here: Main Street is a multifacted crowdsourcing project that essentially involves gathering and publishing stories about small towns, local people, local life and experiences.

A view of the speak screen in the Be Here: Stories app is on a blue background and ask users what they want to say.
A view of one of the speak screens in the app. People can leave a story about almost anything that relates to a location.

The goal of the project, which is being run in connection with the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program, is to change the overall narrative about small-town America by letting people learn about what life is like there.

We’re just a small group, so to make the project work, we’ve trained people in towns (mainly in Minnesota at this stage) to collect stories in their communities.

They can use a free and easy app called Be Here Stories to do so. Once recorded the stories are mapped and people can hear them on location.

Challenges: Getting people to submit stories, working with free tools and platforms, working remotely with communities, dealing with privacy issues, audience apprehensions about using technology.

Talk? Yes! Tweet me.


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Citation: Fouseki, Kalliopi & Vacharopoulou, Kalliopi (2013) Digital Museum Collections and Social Media: Ethical Considerations of Ownership and Use. Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies, 11(1), 1-10.

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