Curatorial practices and mediation programs are increasingly shaped by core concepts of sustainability, equity, social justice and diversity, and – according to the new 2022 ICOM museum definition – “accessible and inclusive, museums foster diversity and sustainability”. Still, just one step outside of the exhibition rooms, in museum shops and museum cafeterias, remnants of past worlds such as exclusionary dietary options or gemstones of questionable origin sold in museum shops are presented to the visitors, forming a sharp contrast to the intellectual menu offered by these institutions.
The challenge “noon at the museum” aims at addressing museum sustainability and institutional responsibility. It focuses on museum restaurants and their surroundings to answer the simple question for vegetarians and vegans “Can I eat here?”. It relies on open and crowd-sourced data to document the current existing situation in Canton Ticino, to improve the situation and to design a tool and a process for the future.
As a prototype of the concept, our scope falls on museums in Ticino. We provided answers to the following questions:
How many museums have a restaurant?
Do they offer at least one vegan/vegetarian option?
Can we find vegan/vegetarian options nearby (within a 50m radius around the museum)?
Can we identify a system which will allow us to have access to this information in the future?
Within this challenge we documented our research and development process and we captured workflows and discussions as they unfolded.
Summary of the prototype (Ticino Canton)
Identification. We identified the information about restaurants and museums which can be included in OpenStreetMap. OpenStreetMap doesn’t allow to enter information on the menu-level, however, it allows to embed an URL to the menu and provides multiple fields that give a summary over the whole. There is a “diet type” field available in OpenStreetMap that allows for various tags like “vegan”/”vegetarian”/”gluten-free”/… These tags can further have four different values: Yes, No, Only, (limited). There is no field or tag indicating whether explicit information on the ingredients is included in the menu.
Data extraction from OpenStreetMap. Using OpenStreetMap it is possible to query the map data for restaurants and cafeterias with vegetarian and vegan lunch options located within 50m from museums. At first there were no results for 50 m around museums in Canton Ticino; at the end of the GLAHack the results were 6 restaurants with vegetarian options (4 also vegan) over a total of 21 restaurants (please refer below; search-query); within 200 m radius we found 14 vegetarian restaurants (9 also vegan) at the end of our work over a total of 134 restaurants (search-query).
Data related to museum restaurants and cafeteria. We searched museums.ch (which has the option to search for museum with a restaurant or a cafeteria in a specific canton) which currently lists 6 museums meeting the criteria; we collected information from people living in the area who know the museums. We found 12 museums with a restaurant or cafeteria, as well as 2 museums which explicitly refer to picnic sites in their website.
Checking diet options: We checked the menus available online and we called 5 restaurants to check for vegetarian or vegan options. The best results with the calls were collected from a person with experience in calling restaurant to organise events. 6 restaurants have vegetarian and vegan options explicitly mentioned in their menu or in their restaurant description. By calling, restaurants provided availability in providing vegetarian and vegan options, but they were not included in OpenStreetMap; 1 restaurant reported availability in providing vegetarian options only.
Data related to museums on Wikidata. On Wikidata there are 118 museums of Canton Ticino uploaded in 2018. We checked the data and we improved it (fixing broken links, completing names in English, fixing redundancy in administration units); we added information about restaurants, shops and picnic sites in the property P912 and we suggested to the Wikidata communities to include this property in the project Museum (please refer to the discussion page)
Data related to museums on OpenStreetMap. On OpenStreetMap we updated information related to the restaurants and cafeteria; we used and tested the how-to document produced (see below). All changes done during the team during the hackathon were tagged with the hashtag #GLAMhack2022 and can be found on OSMCha.
Reproducibility and How-to
We wrote, illustrated and tested a how-to document for potential future contributors. The document guides them step-by-step through the workflow of tagging the available diet options of restaurants in the vicinity of a museum.
The work implemented allowed to create a simple tool and process, which relies on open and crowd-sourced data and which provides access to information related to vegetarian and vegan options in restaurants in and around museums. This process can be extended to other features of restaurants and to features of museum shops.
The focus on Canton Ticino allowed to improve open data related to cultural institutions and to enrich them with reference to restaurants and shops.
The work highlighted how restaurants and shops are indeed not considered an integrated part of museum strategies and design. They are often not presented in their websites and there is a very limited attention to a sustainable, accessible and inclusive approach.
Furthermore working on the challenge arose the following questions:
How to define ”vegan enough”? How is this reflected in the current tagging model of OpenStreetMap (see their wiki)
What are the limits of tags/labels? What are good practices in terms of approval, updating-frequency or degree of detail? How to reflect this in the context of greenwashing?
How to reflect more complex sustainability-indices (regional, seasonal, organic, …)?
Finding museum restaurants
How accurate are existing lists and maps?
How to query-search for museum-restaurants?
How to document the process?
How to link and reconcile with pre-existing documentation and advice?
What may possible user journeys look like?
Credits and contact information
Working group during hackathon
Levyn Bürki (proposal of the challenge, structure of the challenge, documenting the process, testing of the how-to)
Paul Brunner (OpenStreetMap data extraction, check OpenStreetMap policies and data)
Iolanda Pensa (enrich data related to museums in Canton Ticino on Wikidata, adding property P912 to museum with restaurants; adding some data on OpenStreetMap; research on museum restaurants and menus; report)
Erzsébet Tóth-Czifra (text with the structure of the challenge, testing of the how-to)
Camila Méndez (working on the project logo and visual, printed prototype)
Matteo Subet (research on museum restaurants and menus, testing of the how-to)
Kristina Beljan (research on museum restaurants and menus)
Anna Saini (research on museum restaurants and menus)
Valerio Bozzolan (Wikidata queries)
Stefano Dal Bo (enrich data related to museums in Canton Ticino and Wikidata queries)
Luca Landucci (enrich data related to museums in Canton Ticino)
OpenStreetMap contributors (map data)
Data released under CC 0; the rest of content is released under the CC BY-SA 4.0 licence. Attribution: GLAMHack - Noon at the Museum 12, SUPSI, Mendrisio 2022.
All attendees, sponsors, partners, volunteers and staff at our hackathon are required to agree with the Hack Code of Conduct. Organisers will enforce this code throughout the event. We expect cooperation from all participants to ensure a safe environment for everybody.