Reconsidering the “Museum” in the Digital Age

Amber Geurts, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

This paper aims to stimulate discussions about the nature and management of technology-related organizational change within the museum sector. Literature points out how the Internet and ICT’s have questioned the traditional function and meaning of a “museum”. What is more, most museums struggle to adequately adapt themselves to this new environment online, especially since it is not clear at all what kind of online strategies museums could exploit and why. Therefore, museums increasingly wonder how they should evolve in order to remain relevant in the digital domain and to effectively respond to the technological developments within and outside their sector. Considering the continuous technological developments, it becomes increasingly important to provide museums a detailed and informed understanding of the way museums could deal with digitization by coming up with new visions, policy measure and/or governance models for the digital domain that accommodate digitization and could stimulate museums to go beyond the “traditional offline” museum.
This is why this study digs into this research gap by investigating how museums have adopted the Internet and ICTs into their work practice and how this has affected the traditional function and meaning of a “museum”. In addition, by focusing on the effects of this accommodation on the overall performance of the museums, this study aims to illustrate what a more effective utilization of the Internet and digital technologies by museums entails.

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