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Innovation and Digital Museums of the 21st Century

Speaking of innovation and digital museums of the 21st century, one cannot ignore the theme of interdisciplinary museum design. If it is true that new media are a trend and digital ecosystems offer opportunities to enrich the visiting experience, all this is also closely linked to other new museum trends including: inclusion, intercultural dialogue, social commitment, creativity, participation. Planning based on the search for convergences and the dialogue between these different areas are the most innovative aspect and the prerequisite for stimulating new development practices in cultural and creative enterprises.

The Idea For Digital Museum

Digital museums, however, must be attentive to their visitors, therefore in line with the idea of ​​a user-centered museum, capable of stimulating multiform and multisensory experiences. It is always useful to remember that “The Museum is a person” quoting the opening words of an eclectic interview with NEMO 23rd Annual Conference – Pilsen, made with Wim Pijbes, then director of the Rijksmuseum. Museum icon of change also in its digital choices which, with the RijkStudio, has chosen an Open-Access of over 200,000 digital images that can be used and reinterpreted online.

In this change, the research carried out by ICT – Information and Communications Technology – expands the size of museum services and the capabilities of visitors, offering a wide choice of tools and devices to be actively engaged in the production and sharing of content, through a dynamic personalized dialogue with the museum and centered on the user. Today the same technology becomes human-centric and is smart, wearable, augmented, expanded, adaptive. These are some adjectives used to describe technological innovations that place the visitor at the center of digital systems. From the comparison, the need to rethink the design of culture in involving the public emerged as a focus, following quality and innovation also in the production and management of content. Technology alone is not enough, we agreed with the ideas that emerged from the interaction with the participants in the Bottega Innovazione.

Design must be collaborative, to avoid cases of technologies that turn out to be immature, unusable, malfunctioning, difficult to maintain or age too soon. First of all, it is necessary to observe visitors, learn about other museum experiences created, share best practices and use cases, evaluate the solutions implemented.

This innovative project is also under the lens: Mmemosyne. Developed by MICC -Media Integration and Communication Center – and placed as a beta test in the Donatello Room of the Museum of the Bargello in Florence.

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The Technology Of Digital Museum

A non-invasive or intrusive multimedia technology, through special cameras and in respect of privacy, the visitor is identified and recognized and involved with personalized information, based on the style and on the visit path taken. An innovative user-centric technological perspective, typical of adaptive systems useful for overcoming a physical and cognitive disorientation and a museum information asymmetry well highlighted in a recent and interesting article entitled “Managing Adaptive orientation Systems for museums visitors from an IoT perspective”.

Returning to ArtLab, an innovative theme was also a NEMECH path that analyzes the role played by emotions in 21st century museum design. Where emotional in the museum field is in itself an interdisciplinary approach that concerns several addresses: the what (museology) the how ( museography), the who (public) and the medium (new media). In these emotional contexts, new technologies become best practices if used as a means to stimulate involvement and with the aim of motivating the visitor to learn. Not to create spectacle contexts for their own sake and generate the so-called wow effect, but to ensure that wonder becomes a way of accessing contents and their learning.

Not by chance, in the same area, there was an intervention on the innovative models of the EMYA – European Museum of the Year Award, the prize organized by the European Museum Forum that follows the innovative museum trends. Leafing through publications on the candidates museums stories, it just turns out that innovation is not only technology, but a trend based on dialogue between the fields and sectors. Where opposites know how to integrate, different worlds dialogue and the Museum becomes a place open to confrontation for an enlarged co-curator. Citing a piece of music from the 1980s in which the desire of works of art to cross the thresholds of museums was sung, the new technologies provide us with important readings to open borders. Beyond these boundaries, therefore, what distinguishes the best “winning” museums of the 21st century is always something that embraces multiple directions, a creative planning that interprets the metaphor of mixing and the formula of interdisciplinarity.