The Big Internet Museum: not too big to fail


This post appeared in my Facebook news feed earlier today and reminded me of another virtual museum I’d taken a liking to years ago. Sadly, when I went to revisit said museum all I found was this:


The concept of an online museum dedicated to the internet seems obvious, but most things we love seem obvious after they’re created. I recall the Big Internet Museum mostly archived humorous bits of pop culture pertaining to how people used the internet since it’s inception, then sprinkled interesting nostalgic examples throughout the site to create ‘exhibits’. What stands out clearest in my memory is the clean layout and simple navigation of the ‘museum’. It was linear, chronological, yet, very pleasing to the eye. The melding of aesthetics and resource made it easy to waste time meandering through the ‘wings’ of the website. In an age dominated by sound-bites, headlines and fads I’m not easily shocked by the passing of the last best thing, but for some reason the Big Internet Museum not existing anymore took me aback. But … why?

I think the answer is twofold:

  1. When the internet grows, the museum grows. What’s the problem? The concept lends itself to perpetual growth and expansion. As time goes on, the internet continues to exist and the ‘museum’ can grow with it. The only expense would be time creating the content and maintaining the website (Sorry, ‘museum’.) I can’t think of an analogy worthy of how senseless I think this is (but I’ll try.) It’s like not driving your Bentley because you don’t want to buy windshield washer fluid (I’ll come up with something better, but you get the point.)
  2.  Is it just the domain fee? If the nominal expense of time and maintenance is too much (and I can understand if the labor of love isn’t paying off) why not just leave the site up in it’s latest iteration? From what I gather the site had remarkable traffic from the onset. It’s relevancy is timeless even without staying current; it could be a document from the internet’s inception to any given date and still draw traffic.

I won’t spend any more time speculating why the ‘museum’ is no more. And I’ll stop berating the creators for why I think it easily still could be. Instead I’ll finish this blog post to let you know not long ago there was a ‘museum’ dedicated to the internet where you could learn how people searched before Google, when GIFs became a thing, and even how a blog post like this became possible.

Here’s the link to the Museum of Advice article, in case you’re interested.

ChiDM: making global connections via Chicago

Chicago Design Museum leverages creative and strategic partnerships across the world to expand their reach beyond the 3rd floor of 108 N State Street. This Instagram post caught my attention and sent me down a rabbit-hole exploring their past exhibits, in Chicago and abroad.


#GreatIdeasExhibit #HongKong #Chicago

I was impressed with the membership component on their website too. It struck me as a very practical way of engaging people who couldn’t otherwise interact with ChiDM due to proximity, but one day could as they create more partnerships internationally.

To make the relationship tangible, they seduce you with a physical item – a Membership Coin (limited edition to boot!) Then they raise the anti with workshops and private tours, before finally making their move to seal the deal – password protected exclusive content. #letmein


The cursor slowly blinking in the empty field taunts you as your imagination runs wild wondering what’s beyond that blank off-white wall.

Ugh. I think it’s time I became a member. Check back for updates.

What keeps me ‘busy’ when I’m not busy

  1. Gimlet Media … I was first introduced to Gimlet Media through one of their first podcasts, Reply All. After devouring every episode I familiarized myself with more of their catalog only to discover Start Up, a podcast documenting how Gimlet Media was founded and their path to getting funded.
  2. Moth Radio Hour … “Moth stories are true, as remembered by the storyteller and always told live.” (I’ll also add – best listened to on the radio while driving.)
  3. Vinyl (records, not the HBO show) … Collecting and listening to vinyl is a recent obsession. My brother bought me a record player for my birthday and watching my collection grow brings me more joy than I ever expected.
  4. This American Life … Classic.
  5. Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! … Quite possibly the funniest way to stay up to date on current affairs.
  6. Song Exploder … This award winning podcast is a real treat for music fans who like to ‘see how the sausage is made’. Hrishikesh Hirway dives deep with song writers to give fans a detailed look at how and why one particular song was made.
  7. Mystery Science Theater 3000 … As a kid the front row silhouettes of Crow, Tom Servo and Joel lured me in as they mocked B Movies with hundreds of jokes that all went far over my head. I get a handful of them as an adult and still get a kick out of the robot pals and new host, Mike Nelson.
  8. Tiny Houses … The Tiny House lifestyle most likely isn’t for me, but the efficiency and ingenuity people exhibit is miraculous. I spent a little time learning the basics in a design program and designed one of my own! Maybe one day …  tiny
  9. Getting on the radio … My 15 minutes of fame on WBEZ Curious City!