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We were so pleased to see our project partners again at the Future Museum Meeting in Zurich on 14-15 June after a long time of social distancing and several online meetings. The event was also the perfect opportunity to try a hybrid event format to enable participation also to those who were not able to travel to Zurich.
The presentations at the fourth Future Museum Meeting revolved around the questions which digital strategies make sense in a museum and how can they enhance analogue formats as well as what are the ideas for new exhibition design and new exhibition formats? The first day started off with Vanessa Borkmann’s presentation of the results gathered in the Visitor & Non-Visitor Survey which was conducted from October 2020 to March 2021. The survey’s aim was to find out what different types of museum visitors can be identified, which trends and scenarios attract the biggest interest and what experiences people are looking for. The survey results showed that technologization, learning and coworking environments provided by museums, customised visits and offers, interaction and quality of exhibitions play a major role for the respondents. In general, technologization is appreciated in the museum field by visitors but there is still a lot of potential for improvement.
How should technology and digitalisation be used in the museum space? Some answers to this question were provided in the presentations of Catherine Devine (Business Strategy Leader for Libraries and Museums at Microsoft), Dennis Stolze (Head of Cognitive Environments at Fraunhofer IAO), Olga Tykhonova (Head of Research & Development at MUSEUM BOOSTER) and Richard Hinton (Head of Enterprise Architecture & Palnnung at the Natural History Museum London). Catherine Devine recommended to not use technology to simply make a digital copy of real-life experiences, but technology should come in when limitations of the real world are reached. Dennis Stolze talked about the six key points that should be considered for a successful roll-out of digital transformation (a clear, well-articulated and integrated digital strategy; commitment to leadership; best people in the right place; an agile governance mindset; monitor and measure progress; rethink and modernize the tech stack). One of the most crucial elements in compliance with digital strategy according to Olga Tykhonova are digital as well as soft and didactical skills and the necessity to align the strategy to the organisation’s mission, vision and objectives. In this context, Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum of New Zealand was presented as best-practice case. Richard Hinton’s presentation centred around the benefits of digital twins in the museum realm and data collection as well as analysis.
The second day was all about new exhibition design and formats. Vanessa Borkmann and Olga Tykhonova dived deeper into the question of what existing best practices in the field of new exhibition design and formats are and what is expected of future museums. In her presentation, Vanessa highlighted concepts and solutions contributing to strategic design elements like the power of technology to enhance experiences and learnings; the power of data to monitoring, analysis, optimisation and personalisation; the power of social to value and experience “real” encounters; and the power of interior design to influence people’s behaviour, emotions and wellbeing. Olga mentioned four basic elements which exhibitions should try to integrate: being immersive, surprising, authentic, personal.
Three more presentations followed from experts such as Joachim Quantz (Head of Research at ART+COM) and Gerfried Stocker (Artistic & Managing Director at Ars Electronica) highlighting the importance of digital solutions that enable interaction between visitors and the space as it is provided, for example, in Ars Electronica’s Deep Space exhibition. The event was rounded off with a presentation by Mathias Vukelic talking about the BrainPalace project that seeks to combine neurofeedback with art environments.
We truly enjoyed the meeting and thank all our speakers for their important inputs and willingness to answer questions from the online and onsite audiences.