The Good, the Bad, the Ugly? Thoughts about museums, media and their consumers

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Harald Kraemer, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R.

Since the 1990s, multimedia technology has had a growing impact on communication and education in museums. Museums have spent enormous effort in the production of multimedia applications for kiosk systems, audio guides, portables, silver discs, websites, apps, etc. In the face of the growing loss of the products of our digital cultural heritage, the question remains how we can ensure that future generations will have access to the hypermedia applications created by museums. Nowadays museums are open to any kind of media that the new communication technology has forced them to comply with. Using multimedia and social media-supported technologies, visitors have transformed from passive learning consumers to active clients who participate in co-authoring their visits. The expectations of the Millennial generation in particular, following the latest technology innovations, have led museums into a dependency with unforeseeable consequences. This essay contains aspects of the following questions: Do art museums that adopt the media strategies of science museums run the risk of becoming amusement parks with cultural content? Are the multimedia contents mainly focused on interpretation still relevant in view of the changed behavior of the born-digital user? How can museums develop a contemporary education model that strengthens our visitor/user’s ability to critically engage with art and media? By discussing Michael Bockemühl’s demands for a primary experience in the art museum, Joseph Beuys’ vision of the museum as a university, and the visions of Madame Sosostris aka Eckhard Siepmann, which conjure up the end of the monodisciplinary and the future of transdisciplinary museums, the museum of the future should become a place in which questions and constellations can be discussed that are not considered elsewhere and give the museum, the objects, and all the people who live the museum a vital role in shaping the future.

Bibliography:
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