Museum boosting – the start of a blog on the digitalisation of the museum world
My very first contact with the museum world happened when I attended school in Kiev. I was about nine or ten years old when my class undertook a school excursion. We were standing in front of a big grey building and I was captivated by its size and representativeness. I felt that something unforgettable would happen when we mounted the steps and entered The Museum of History.
And here is what happened: Instead of an exciting time travel, I was faced with a grim and unloved place – overloaded with information and objects. Our guide was moving slowly from showcase to showcase, explaining every detail of the objects on display, mentioning a litany of dates and names. I had many questions. But I did not ask them, fearing our tour would last longer.
In his book “A Short History of Nearly Everything
”, Bill Bryson describes a very similar experience he had with science lectures at school. Unsatisfied with his scientific knowledge, Bryson wanted to close the gaps he had. Being not a scientist himself, he interviewed specialists in different fields and asked a lot of “outstandingly dumb” questions. In fact, Bryson acted as a mediator, who translated scientific data – full of formulas and definitions – in a comprehensible and entertaining language.
When I started to work for PARTNER Culture+Projects, a company which creates travelling exhibitions for museums, I was looking for this mediator that could help explain complicated museum topics. New media technologies seemed to be a good option, offering various tools for different usages. However, there were still a lot of questions: In which new media technologies did it make sense to invest? How would such investments contribute to the success of an exhibition? I was looking for success factors, success stories, the real museum boosters. Not finding sufficient answers, I decided that I would devote my master thesis at the MBA programme of Modul University to this research. Two years later, after gathering data from museums around the world and interviewing numerous museum experts, my paper on the “Influence of New Media Technologies on the Success of Museum Exhibitions” was published.
The thesis was a beginning – but, as new media is just entering the museum world in a meaningful way, there is more work to do in future. This blog was created to further discuss the challenges museums face and identifying appropriate solutions from the digital sphere.
Let’s begin the journey of museum boosting!