Museum studies in the digital era: challenges and opportunities

Costis Dallas, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, Canada, Phyllis Hecht, Johns Hopkins University, USA

The continuing transformation of the museum in the light of developments related to the exponential growth of the role of ICT is well documented. Digital technology, global connectedness and media convergence transforms the way museums perform core functions, care for their collections and serve the needs and interests of their visitors and society at large. These changes already have an impact on the professional competencies and body of knowledge necessary for museum work. The University of Toronto’s 2009 “Museum knowledge workers for the 21st century” study notes the rising importance of the opportunities and challenges introduced by digital technology in the curriculum and pedagogy of museum professional education.
This professional forum will bring together museum studies educators from leading universities across continents to take stock of current and emerging academic practice, pedagogical approaches, the content of curricula and syllabi, and learning experiences related to graduate education in museum studies as it strives to meet the challenges and opportunities of the digital age. Participants will present different approaches and models of professional education, including distance learning, continuing education, and face-to-face full time graduate degree programs. They will discuss the incorporation of digital competencies and intellectual frameworks in generalist museum studies programs, as well as specialist graduate degree offerings in digital heritage or digital museum communication. Finally, they will probe the relationship between curricula and the learning outcomes required for digital work in museums and heritage, and will seek to draw lessons learned on how museum studies programs can best prepare their graduates for digital work.

The forum should be relevant to anyone who can contribute to these issues, or who has an interest in finding out about graduate education preparing for cultural heritage professional work and leadership

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