Many questions on museum and digital: The final event of the Mu.SA

“To continue to be relevant in today’s society, museums need to seize the opportunities that technology offers to extend the means of pursuing their central purposes and serving their communities” (Suzanne Keene del 2004).

How to do that? One way is to invest in human capital. This was the goals of the Mu.SA project to identify new emerging job profiles in the museum sector that could support Museums to thrive in the digital environment.

Yesterday the final Mu.SA conference took place online, as we need to do at the time of COVID-19. From 10 in the morning until 2.00 pm about 500 participants online, there was a peak attendance at around 12.00.

In terms of quantities, we reached a larger number of people, more than we would have reached in a physical place, but like everyone else is asking at the moment, we wonder what the impact is, have they all felt involved? We miss being in the same room, trying to network during the coffee breaks!

We are all confident that that moment will return, differently for sure, but it will return.

Meanwhile, we will briefly tell you what happened yesterday, moderated by Culture Action Europe, the conference opened with two keynote speakers linked to the themes of the Mu.SA project. The first by Julia Pagel of Nemo who shares the results of the survey that conducted Nemo recently to understand how museums are responding to the crisis.The second by Tere Badia of Culture Action Europa that makes us reflect on the impact that our digital activities have , sharing interesting links, such as:

  • https://tosdr.org/ on the terms we accept
  • http://www.janavirgin.com/CO2/CO2GLE_about.html, CO2GLE a real-time installation on network that displays the amount of CO2 per second thanks to global visits to Google.com.

Following a series of sessions on the results of the Mu.SA project by the partners: Achilles Kameas and Spiros Borotis (HOU); Mu.SA Methodology Panagiota Polymeropoulou (HOU); Mu.SA MOOC Paula Menino Homem (University of Porto); Mu.SA Blended Training Courses  Eleni Damianou (AKMI); Mu.SA Evaluation Massimiliano Dibitonto (Link Campus University), Mu.SA Quality Assurance Ivo Oosterbeek (Mapa das Ideias); Antonia Silvaggi (Melting Pro) Emerging Job Profiles for Museum Professionals.

Furthermore, an interesting round table animated the debate to discuss how museums in different countries are reacting to the new crisis and what they are doing in terms of capacity building with Alexandre Matos (ICOM Portugal), Philippos Mazarakis-Ainian (ICOM Greece), Romina Surace (Symbola), Leena Tokila (ICTOP) with Margherita Sani (IBACN) concluded it all. Many questions from the participants:

“How can we manage museums that don’t want a digital transformation?”

“Does going to digital somehow mean democratizing the knowledge and contents of our museums?”

“But aren’t we strengthening the digital divide between the public who has access and good digital literacy and the one who has no access at all?”

Although Mu.SA research focused on emerging job profiles in the museum sector connected to new technologies, the underpinning theme is the need for a mental change so that the digital element can become an integral part of the approach from the outset.

It is difficult to make predictions as to what the future holds for museums, further digital and social innovations are certainly in store. Regardless of the resources available, all museums can become agents of change.  They need to acquire an awareness of their potential and be equipped with the appropriate skill-sets for responding to the ever-changing needs of society.

All presentations will be available shortly on the Mu.SA website