1. Museums

The Power of

Kate Dearlove explores how technology can play a vital role in developing an engaged and inclusive future through the auspices of our museum and cultural heritage sector.

Why do we have museums? What is their relevance, and now that we are firmly living in the digital age, do we still need them? These are questions occupying my thoughts as we approach International Museum Day (IMD) on 18th May.

As I have admitted on more than one occasion, I am rather partial towards museums because I love exploring our shared heritage and different cultures as I am interested in people. 

In fact, I believe they are more so than ever before, given their role in showing today’s generations another side to their current lived reality, and helping us to understand our fellow man and each other’s customs. These unique places bring communities together, offer escapism, inspiration and enjoyment to us all. 

Some would say that the ‘follow’ me social media age, has to an extent, created a blinkered society that is less tolerant to people who are other than themselves for example, as well as a generation who rely on these channels to hero worship.

A visit to a museum or cultural heritage site would open these young and impressionable minds to other possibilities and perspectives. Museum and Cultural Heritage outings are therefore imperative to understanding how we got to be what we are now, which in turn, helps to create a better-informed future.

This year’s IMD theme is ‘The Power of Museums.’ It aims to bring about positive change through focusing attention on three key drivers, which the International Council of Museums qualifies as:

  • The power of achieving sustainability: Museums are strategic partners in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. As key activators in their local communities, they contribute to a wide variety of goals, which include fostering short-circuit and social economy and disseminating scientific information on environmental challenges.

  • The power of innovating on digitalisation and accessibility: Museums have become innovative playgrounds where new technologies can be developed and applied to everyday life. Digital innovation can make museums more accessible and engaging, helping audiences understand complex and nuanced concepts.

  • The power of community building through education: Through its collections and programmes, museums thread a social fabric that is essential in community building. By upholding democratic values and providing life-long learning opportunities to all, they contribute to shaping an informed and engaged civil society.

The golden thread linking each of these aims is technology and its ability to truly power museums and their messages, as well as ‘modernise’ the entire museum experience.

Having just returned from the annual M+H show in London, the subject of digital transformation was a hot topic across the exhibition floor. Of interest, and some concern though, is just how many of the establishments I spoke to, lag in implementing any form of technology in their organisations, or understand that technology in this sector, goes far beyond the delivery of digital wallets, e-ticketing solutions, and social media marketing.

Naturally, for us at n-gage.io, this gap in the market is also an opportunity to fill. Admirably fitting the bill, we have developed a next generation audience engagement platform, which is disrupting the traditional visitor attractions app sector.

Several things set this technology apart from others, not least of all its simple plug and play set-up, which also spins out a mobile audience experience app over which content is delivered in ways, means and formats that keep the visitor interested all along the journey.

Best of all, no matter the age of the visitor, the platform provides a window into a richer learning experience. Likewise, the learning on the operator side about audience behaviour, including dwell times and exhibit engagement, is invaluable and instantly available – real time metrics, that can continue the conversation with the mapped visitor’s tracked preferences.

Yet, the transformation that this technology brings, is not just about taking a bricks and mortar offering and giving it a digital skin, then stimulating an interaction. The real transformation comes in providing new, relevant, and totally wicked fun ways that will actively encourage younger generations (including Millennials and today’s digital natives) to consider a different perspective.

To find out more about how the n-gage.io audience engagement platform can be an enabler to the museum's mission, get in touch to request a demo.

As a last thought…Looking back on today, what will future generations think of our contribution to progress?

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