digital storytelling,  empowerment,  media literacy

What a museum is

Museums used to be buildings that housed artefacts. The experts contextualised these objects by writing historically-accurate interpretations of their meaning. Visitors used to enter museums to absorb this.

How often have you looked at objects in museums and thought that the meaning an object has to you is different to the one conveyed by the museum’s card, plaque, kiosk, etc.? New technology and ways of working mean that can change.

Some museum managers are excited about the possibilities opened up by enabling visitors to share their own interpretations and are asking their staff to work in new ways. I did once hear one museum worker say “But that isn’t what we do” though.

Living-memory sections of museums are more to do with memories than artefacts. So museum managers can feel free to move away from traditional perceptions of what it is they’re doing. That’s when they’ll feel it’s OK to instruct their staff to spend less time on objects and more on helping people to share their own memories with other visitors.

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