The Museo Soumaya is the most visited museum in Mexico City. It features more than 66,000 works from 30 centuries of art, spanning Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica, 19th- and 20th-century Mexican art, European old masters, and modern western art by masters like Auguste Rodin and Salvador Dalí. It is also the site of the longest continuous Wikimedia edit-a-thon ever recorded.
In September 2014, more than 30 volunteer editors gathered in its expansive, white halls to document the museum’s works for 50 consecutive hours. The edit-a-thon, dubbed Soumaya Abierto, 50 horas de arte (“Open Soumaya, 50 Hours of Art”), resulted in 64 new articles in several languages and more than 1,100 total edits to Wikimedia projects.
“The impact and scope go beyond how many articles was made, how many characters were [added to the] Internet,” says Alfonso Miranda, the museum’s director. “Sharing knowledge in a transparent way…without that idea of, ‘I'm the one who generates, and then I protect [my work]’. That has taught us this new reality, this new paradigm.”
Sharing knowledge in a transparent way…without that idea of, ‘I'm the one who generates, and then I protect [my work]’. That has taught us this new reality, this new paradigm.
The Museo Soumaya is an “open-door museum”, meaning its collections are free to the public and open year-round. The museum’s commitment to open access to its collections made it an ideal partner for local Wikimedians, who bring the joy of art and culture to the public through projects like Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons.
The Soumaya Abierto edit-a-thon was part of a larger effort to create and improve Wikipedia articles and images about the Soumaya collections through a partnership with Wikimedia Mexico, the local Wikimedia chapter. In June 2014, Wikimedia Mexico’s President Ivan Martinez became a Wikipedian-in-Residence at the museum, helping the institution make more of its collections freely available to the public on Wikimedia projects. During the residence, Ivan worked with the museum’s staff to create 28 new articles on Spanish Wikipedia and improved 20 more. Soumaya researchers collaborated with Ivan to achieve a high standard of writing and sources.
During 2014, the museum donated 127 images to Wikimedia Commons, which were viewed 4.7 million times in just six months. Many of them were made available in high-quality TIFF format and were taken by expert fine-art photographers. The partnership continued into 2015, when the Museo Soumaya hosted the final event of Wikimania 2015, the annual gathering for Wikipedia and its sister projects.
“Our values are aligned into the openness and the passion in knowledge”, said Ivan. We are partners due the strong commitment Museo Soumaya has to art and the organization’s respect and understanding of Wikipedia.”