Do you know that the Internet has its own museum? Aptly named “The Big Internet Museum”, the digital spot was founded by Netherlanders Dani Polak, Joep Drummen and Joeri Bakker, and launched in December 2012.
Today, Drummen, a copywriter at advertising agency TBWANEBOKO, is giving us a “guided tour” of the website in this exclusive interview.
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Joep, thank you for answering my questions. What gave you the idea to create The Big Internet Museum?
Joep Drummen: The idea came up while we were stuck in traffic (that’s quite normal in the Netherlands). We had a philosophical conversation about the exponential growth of technology nowadays and how rapidly everything changes. Actually, we were having a discussion about a preloader. Will our children still have a clue what it is? Due to the increasing speed of the Internet, they probably don’t.
So, how can we preserve this and everything that made the Web what it is today? That’s when we came up with the idea of an Internet museum. And – luckily – no one ever had the idea before. This was in July 2012. Half a year later we opened the Big Internet Museum.
CM: How did you meet Dani Polak and Joeri Bakker? And why did you decide to work together?
JD: Dani Polak is an art director at TBWANEBOKO and we work together as a creative team, mostly on digital campaigns. So we’ve been teammates already.
Joeri Bakker works at the same agency, so it was easy and logically to combine our forces. Also, we are good friends.
CM: The Big Internet Museum works exactly like a regular museum, with curators, a permanent collection, temporary exhibitions by guest curators, and specialized wings. Would you introduce those wings for us?
JD: The museum houses seven specialized wings. In each wing, a different subject is categorized. For example, in the history wing visitors discover the first online attempts of ARPAnet, the precursor of today’s Internet. In the ‘Meme’ wing you’ll find more about ‘Chuck Norris’ and ‘Nyan Cat’. Also, third parties can display pieces in a specially assigned temporary exhibition wing.
CM: Which criteria do you use to select curators and the items that get featured permanently / temporarily?
JD: We have a few simple criteria. First of all, the artifact must have had a significant impact on the Internet as a whole. Secondly, it must have had a global impact, so not local. And, of course, pieces submitted by visitors need a huge amount of likes.
In our museum everybody can submit and vote on a new piece for the permanent collection. So the permanent collection can grow forever and everybody is a potential curator.
CM: TBIM officially opened its doors in December 2012. How have people responded to it, and which part of the collection has been the most visited so far?
JD: From the beginning, it was a tremendous success and our digital hallway is very crowded. Really, it was a crazy time, and it still is.
The three of us love all the attention and cool requests we receive from all over the world. Quite a lot people are willing to translate the museum into Spanish or Portuguese, for example.
Not surprisingly, the Meme Wing is receiving a lot attention. But also the vote and submit pages are popular. MediaMonks, the museum’s developer and also the museum’s friend, was responsible for the first temporary exhibition about the history of Flash. This exhibition also draws a lot of visitors.
CM: Are there more things in the works for The Big Internet Museum? And what do you hope to achieve?
JD: Currently we’re working on a mobile and tablet versions of the museum. And perhaps we’ll open a gift shop in the future. Who knows.
CM: Anything you would like to add?
JD: Submit a piece to the museum… and spread the word!
Visit The Big Internet Museum at www.thebiginternetmuseum.com.