Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

15. International trends and perspectives for the development of museums based on use of new technology


NEMO’s declaration about museums being partners in the Information Society states the following:

“Museums play an important role in the current transformation of the industrial and agricultural society into a new information society. Capitalising on their collections and the expertise of their staff, museums offer partners in information and technology unique challenges for research and development. At the same time, information technology is a vital tool for museums to improve access to their collections for a wider public. Coordinated digitization programmes for museum collections create new opportunities for Europe’s inhabitants to explore each other’s cultural heritage, regardless of distance and boundaries. The interactive nature of information technology allows museums to deliver tailor-made and contextualized information; its capacity to create three-dimensional views of objects and virtual representations of historical and archaeological sites enhances the experience of Europe’s cultural heritage.” [1]

Certainly the impact of digitalization and online accessibility forces museums to alter their interfaces with the audiences and supporters. As this entails further going considerations with regards to recent developments in museums, it is safe to say conventional and orthodox spirits resistent to change will not halt the entry of new media technology into the sphere of museums. At the same time, it is true to say that a curator will look at these tools in a pragmatic way and shall only deploy them if they facilitate the telling of the story.

15.1 digital collections

As the interfaces between museums, libraries and public changes due to the digitalization process, there are by now specific research back-ups that facilitate the constitution of new types of collections e.g. Greek scientific publications over two centuries. Significant is once it is known where a certain original documents can be found at one location, the linkage per Web can valorize the original document by putting it into a larger context. In that way collections of museums can become more valuable as they are accessibility to a larger audience world-wide. This depends naturally upon both the categorization of the item and whether or not linkages to such collections are also possible for non scientific museums. There is plenty of work going on both within museums and between them as well as in the academic fields and other institutional set-ups ready to interact with museums when it comes to developing a new kind of taxonomy. Various solutions are tried but mostly the failure to find compatibility reflects contradictory systems between place of origin, mode of production, type of use and meaning given to the item or object. There can be added the other dimension as to where it is now located e.g. the Parthenon marbles in the British Museum. All the valorization and attention given to the item depends among other things upon the negotiation and conditions of the particular museum becoming an active member of such an ongoing collection enhanced in value by increase in knowledge. One word of caution needs to be added. Compared with former philosophical and other scientific studies to clarify terms in use, it is not clear at all what shall be the impact of the digitalization upon the taxonomy of things (see here the discussion about how WIKI encyclopedia archives information with consequences on how historical facts are not merely presented, but categorized and interpreted).


New information systems

See here the project digicult in Schleswig Holstein with link to new chip for downloading all information with regards to museums in Schleswig Holstein.

“Am defizientesten aber ist die Archivierung der Museen selbst: Sie findet nicht statt. Statt Material-Sammlungen zu den Aktionen anzulegen, zusammenzutragen und zu vervollstaendigen, produzieren sie in Informationsbroschueren und bei Fuehrungen konkurrierende ‚Werk’-Deutungen. Das Museum fuer moderne Kunst wird im Kulturbetrieb zum Randbereich ohne besondere Kompetenzen.“[2]


Case study of Venice Biennale

National representation annual festival local actors / international crowd
artists extension beyond official domain
curators and staff
International representation leading actors in the field
new trends and set points
unique experiences



  1. prelimary research and press work: clipping service
  2. exhibitions – catalogue
  3. artists – agencies (including widows who create maps of works)
  4. art and museum magazines with their own overviews and registers of works
  5. CD Rom, DVD and Internet links for materials available e.g. biography of Francis Bacon
  6. Cultural news / newspapers / television / other media coverage
  7. Film production: Kenneth Russell
  8. All these productions take on a value of their own and can be understood as a way to continue interpreting the basic works e.g. Van Gogh Museum – Newsletter contains items like lending out certain works, acquisition of related painters and subjects, new construction of the museum to complete the extension

By the same token, international conferences are one of the best indicators as to current topics and themes when it comes to link museum with ongoing research into the use of the new media.

At the VAST 2004 conference held in Brussels, December 7-10, 2004 and named as the The 5th International Symposium on Virtual Reality, Archaeology and Cultural Heritage, incorporating a Second Eurographics Workshop on Graphics and Cultural Heritage (www.eg.org) it was dedicated to the theme:

Interdisciplinarity or “The Best of Both Worlds”:
The Grand Challenge for Cultural Heritage Informatics in the 21st Century [3]

The call for research papers covered following issues:

If it is possible to group this into following thematic fields, then certainly the biggest and most costly challenge comes from the need for

  1. a data bank and data management
  2. improvement in the sophistication of displays and forms of presentations
  3. Enhancement of new forms of knowledge through use of the new media, including what impact that has on museum policy (both internally and externally) and its institutional extension to the types of services offered by the museum both internally and to the community at large
  4. What training and qualification requirements this brings with it for all kinds of staff working in and out of a museum
  5. In terms of measurements of performance (benchmarking) by a museum there are again internal and external possibilities with a key aspect being professional and ethical guidelines as defined by leading organizations attempting to network museums and to raise the standards of each one of them.


“I think it is worth noting that museums are not only Temples of Culture. They have increasingly become lively laboratories, places for research and innovation. Interactive multimedia areas, challenging objects, speaking machines, educational pathways for children; all this stimulates our senses and extends our perceptions of culture. They largely draw on ‘play and learn’ approaches that are associated to new technologies. These developments emphasize the crucial role that museum play in the knowledge society, not only as virtual museums but as places of collective creation.”[4]

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

As one of the world's most innovative museums of modern and contemporary art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is committed to an active technology refresh program based on the idea that a museum should continually strive to improve the ways in which it serves a diverse public. The museum continually seeks new ways to improve the public's experience by utilizing technology to deploy artistic content that complements the museum's permanent collection and exhibition programs.

When the museum was selected as a showcase site for Intel's Centrino technology, SFMOMA integrated wireless connectivity into its existing network to offer visitors wi-fi access in several areas of the museum.

A Customer Challenge
SFMOMA installed an Extreme Networks® infrastructure five years ago, and recently added Extreme's Unified Access solution to provide wireless capabilities throughout the museum.

With mission critical retail point of sale systems relying on the network, from ticket sales to the Museum store, SFMOMA couldn't risk investing in a network that provided anything short of performance and reliability.

Service after the sale was a significant reason the museum selected Extreme Networks – in fact, it was one of the determining factors. The network is critical to the smooth operation of the museum. SFMOMA needed a fast, reliable way to replace any problem devices and have immediate access to knowledgeable support.

"With many vendors, attaining support can be a long, drawn-out process with little satisfaction and lots of frustration," explains Leo Ballate, IT Director. "We didn't want to be just another number on an open service ticket. Extreme's approach to service was truly centered on the customer."

In addition, the museum wanted the flexibility to choose a service and support plan that met its needs and its budget.

An Extreme Solution
Extreme offered SFMOMA a variety of support plans to choose from, ultimately allowing the museum to select the program that best met its needs. The museum selected ExtremeWorks four hour on-site service, which includes advanced hardware replacement as well as an on-site engineer, for its critical BlackDiamond® core switch, and next business day service for its Summit® 300 wireless switches.

"Extreme's flexibility works in our favor," explains Ballate. "We could select the support and service program that worked for us, and didn't have to pay for services we didn't need."

The museum has also received the high level of service it viewed as differentiating Extreme from other vendors. Its experiences with the Extreme Networks TAC have been overwhelmingly positive, in part because Extreme personnel were familiar with SFMOMA's network and the applications it is running.

"Extreme has engineers who know us and understand our network, as well as a responsive TAC staff who make our concerns their priority," says Ballate. "We're able to get immediate support from people with the knowledge to resolve issues - without getting lost in a myriad of escalation procedures that just prolong the problem."

Beyond is Partnering for Your Success
Today, SFMOMA is confident that Extreme's service and support will enable the museum to handle network issues quickly and simply. From mission critical applications, such as ticket sales, to the interactive education programs delivered at the Koret Visitor Education Center, Extreme delivers the expertise and knowledge to keep the network up and running.

"Extreme has truly partnered with SFMOMA to ensure that our network service and support needs are met," concludes Ballate. "Extreme's switches are probably the most stable part of our network, but if we ever need service or support, we trust that Extreme will be there."

Beyond is Trusting the Network to Deliver
Extreme Networks offers the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as well as every other company with which it partners, an extensive portfolio of support solutions designed to maximize network performance and enhance the on-going management of the network. Staffed by networking professionals, these solutions include a global network of TACs, online support, a worldwide system of parts depots, on-site service contracts, professional consulting services, and comprehensive training and certification programs.


Web camera use

Long distance archiving – example Roman in Berlin

a)      construction of Berlin – different building phases – administrators still in Bonn could follow what is happening on site in Berlin

b)      historical spaces – for restoration and new investment opportunities – and a special way of archiving to have correspondence between images and contents and thereby use the possibilities for each building block also links to various designs, proposals, implementations and current uses

[1] www.ne-mo.org “Europe through the eyes of museums”

[2] Christine Resch / Heinz Steinert, “Schliesst die Museen fuer Moderne Kunst” (Eine Kritik der Logik der Ausstellung mit einem Versuch zur Rettung der modernen Kunst) in: wespennest, Nr. 124. 4. Quartal, September 2001, s.19

[3] Clearly within this trend is the international conference for culture and heritage-on-line in Vancouver, Canada (April 13 – 16, 2005) with the title being Museums and the Web conference and the address being http://www.archimuse.com/mw2005/.

[4] Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission, responsible for Education and Culture, quoted by NEMO www.ne-mo.org “Europe through the eyes of museums”

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