Museums are institutions providing a public access to collections of artifacts, to cultural or artistic exhibits, and to scientific or historical discoveries. They are part of our everyday life, and our own legacy and identity as a civilization.
For a long time, museums were seen as places of culture and wisdom where, if someone wanted to access the available information, he had to visit it on purpose. Museums were seen as static “collections of collections” with an ancient feeling and accessible only to a few.
Nowadays, the continuing acceleration in the digitization of information is causing the traditional model of museums to expand to include a more digitalized approach. Either is by including interactive tools for the common visitor, either is by presenting virtual exhibits and high-resolution images of their collections for usage, study, and exploration from any place with Internet connectivity.
Technology is changing the world and museums are not an exception.
On this talk we had the presence of two speakers presenting a different point of view on how technology is affecting and changing nowadays museums. Maria Van Zeller, from Sistemas do Futuro, and Dr. Ricardo Nicolau, from Fundação Serralves.
Maria Van Zeller
Software and information technologies proved already that they can be of big aid for a Museum. Several main areas of action can be seen where software can be of great help in the Museum environment:
1) Informatic systems can greatly improve the management of the artifacts and the collections of the museums. The usage of a specific software for patrimonium management is currently an essential tool for any kind of museum. It keeps all information and important data about everypiece of the museum easily organized and classified.
2) Interactivity in the museums is something that can be vastly improved using digital systems too. Using multimedia tools and games it’s more easier to captivate and motivate visitors for the experience provided by visiting a museum.
3) As previously said, another advantage of the digital technologies is that now it is possible for visitors to “enter” the museum without leaving their houses. It is becoming more and more commong for museums to provide virtual tours online with information, pictures and even 3D views of the different collections on exhibit.
Dr. Ricardo Nicolau
We live in a digital era which, on artists’ point of view, may not be just entirely good news. With all these new technologies emerging and changing the world we live in, artists tend to revisit the analogical “long gone” world. At Serralves Foundation’s Museum, artists expose, many of the times, their works on old fashion resources, such as analogical photography and videotape filming. This reality comes to demonstrate the artists’ resilience on new technologies, stating that there also must be a good balance on using these in the managing of collections and museums’ expositions.
Adapting new technologies to bring advantages to culture disclosure must take on account that the works of art have its own way of communicating with the audience, and, for instance, a web museum must not come as a replacement to the physical contact with art. Staying home and watching a collection of art on a computer screen does not bring any advantage. Getting in contact with a sculpture or a canvas, in a museum, star it and see it in its real dimensions and shapes is what cataloging and expositions are all about. So, artists’ point of view is that recent programmes and initiatives of software to access and interact with arts’ environment must only be used as an enhancing addition and not a replacement of the physical contact that shall emerge from visiting a museum.
Speakers: Maria Van Zeller & Ricardo Nicolau
Promoted by: Pedro Graça, Fábio Costa, Luís Simões and Filipe Pereira