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Digital Summit


25 October 2019



Tobacco Theatre


Delegates will be welcomed to MuseumNext by Sarah Berckenkamp who will be chairing the conference.


Making digital happen

High-performing digital teams are critical to making organisational change happen.

But how do organisations identify how big their digital teams should be, how they are structured, and where they belong in the
organisation? How do they define and measure digital success?

Kati and Dafydd surveyed 56 GLAM organisations across the world to find out. In this presentation, they will share how they explored how digital is being shaped and is shaping museums and cultural institutions today.

They will reveal how organisations are reconfiguring their digital teams to define success and drive change. And they suggest next steps in helping organisations to make change happen on the journey to digital maturity.


Operation Night Watch

On 8 July 2019 the Rijksmuseum started Operation Night Watch. This is the biggest and most wide-ranging research and conservation project in the history of Rembrandt’s masterpiece. The goal of Operation Night Watch is the long-term preservation of the painting. The entire operation will take place in a specially designed glass chamber so the visiting public can watch and will be streamed live online.

How did the Rijksmuseum team make this and supporting digital elements across the breadth of social media platforms happen?


Why AI is not just for visitors

Why do visitors get to have all the fun? The Data & Insight team at the National Gallery set out not just to understand what audiences have come to the Gallery in the past, but, with machine learning methods, begin to predict what audiences might come in the future. This talk will look at how a forecasting model was developed for exhibition ticket sales and audience attendance using machine learning methods and will detail how it has since been used within the organisation. We will also explore how to find insights using machine learning on visitor feedback.


Coffee Break


Agile Development in Non-Agile Museum

“As agile website development product owners, we navigate between the development team and the museum bureaucracy in order to produce the best possible website for the audience to enjoy.” This is the scrum user story I and my colleagues at the Finnish National Gallery might write. During the development of the museum’s new website we have encountered issues arising from the clash of cultures and paradigms – and solved them. I present a selection of issues and their sometimes surprising solutions from our museum’s first ever agile development project.


Museum of Things for People

With Museum of Things for People (MoTfP) Design Museum Gent examined the conduct and expectations of visitors in the exhibition Object Stories, which shows 200 collection pieces. The project focused on three main aspects, namely wayfinding (in what way do people move around in the exhibition?), tracking (which objects attract people the longest?) and data enrichment (suggesting points of interest in the city based on the results of the tracking). In the presentation we explain about the cause of the project, the technical realization in collaboration with two startups, and our most important findings.


An Ethical Minefield

How far can agency over museum experiences go before it becomes invasive and detrimental to visitors’ privacy? What can we sense; what shouldn’t be sensed? What happens if analysis of sensed data reveals –accidentally or purposely– upsetting information about a visitor? These questions contribute to an emerging demand to rethink our collective idea(l)s about ethical conduct and norms. This talk will address the specific interventions Science Gallery Melbourne has in mind and has previously experimented with, and how our insights contribute to an accessible and inclusive debate about ethics.




Sponsors Presentation

The main aim of storytelling is to bring visitors on a journey and introduce them to new objects and perspectives by communicating the qualities and attributes of art.

Ciprian Melian, Livdeo CEO, will introduce the agile, user-centric methods and solutions used by the company to create and deliver unconstrained digital mediation and storytelling to the visitors.

Ciprian will share the GEED platform along with its ability to manage large-scale projects, from open data and artwork recognition to universally accessible storytelling strategies to produce new mediation tools accessible on visitors devices.


Digital Transformation Framework

Tobacco Theatre

Catherine Devine, the former CTO at the American Museum of Natural History and Microsoft’s lead on museums and libraries will share a new framework for Digital Transformation in the museum sector.

How do you transform the approach to digital in complex organisations like museums?


Dusty Documents to Hold-Your-Breath Stories

The UK National Archives holds 11 million records covering a thousand years of British history, but the impression of archives among the public is still piles of dusty documents. How do you radically shift that perception? With stories of course.

I worked with the National Archives to produce On the Record, a podcast mini-series that used familiar names and events as entry points for the public, stories to keep them on the edge of their seat, and exciting records to subtly demonstrate the power of archives to show us the truth behind “the stories you think you know.”

In this talk, I’ll explain how I trained the TNA staff in audio storytelling, how we together identified the perfect characters for our stories, and how I took biographies and facts and wove them into more complex narratives that are intended to make the audience cry, gasp, and rethink history. I’ll also show how, by focusing on the quality of the story, we were able to better highlight the value of the historical documents than if we had created a podcast about these documents.

This podcast series went beyond the half-steps towards story that most museum podcasts have taken and really foregrounded story as the most important element without sacrificing the core mission of the institution. It’s this radically story-focused approach that makes each episode so compelling for audiences at many levels of history-interest. It can serve a model for other institutions who may be inclined to take the “safe” route and make media about objects or facts instead of stories.


Coffee Break


How to tell stories online that people won’t move away from

Why do people get lost in a novel, spend hours binge-wachting series on Netflix and forget the time while scrolling through their social media timelines, while the average visit duration on a museum website is less than 2 mintues? Our stories are at the core of our museums and they have all the potential to be equally engaging as a television series. I’ve asked scenario writers, theater makers, journalists at newspapers and UX specialists to find out how we can rewrite and redesign our stories so people won’t move away. In this talk, I share what I’ve learned.


Unexpected stories and incidental objects

A new way to tell the story of museum objects. Instead of the focus, consider the object as a thread in the tapestry of someone’s life; a cameo in their story. By subverting storytelling in this way, V&A Dundee’s article series ‘Scottish Design Icons’ presents authentic and meaningful reflections on Scotland’s design history from unique perspectives. Find out how the series developed organically; how relegating museum objects and themes to the background can yield unexpected connections and storytelling opportunities; and why the singular, authoritarian “museum voice” is no longer relevant.


Conference Closes