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MuseumNext — 2017

Berlin, Germany

In Autumn 2017 we ran the first one day MuseumNext Tech conference at the Jewish Museum Berlin. This event focused on digital transformation in museums with speakers joining us from leading European museums.

The opening keynote came from Marleen Hartjes, a museum educator and mediation developer working at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. Marleen shared the museums Special Guest programme which is designed to enhance the museums accessibility and inclusion for everyone, regardless of any restrictions, gender, cultural background or handicaps (Watch a film of this presentation here).

The Special Guest programme allows members of the public to take guided tours of the museum via a robot, which is escorted around the galleries by a member of staff who acts as a guide, sharing their knowledge of the artworks, the artists and the stories behind the collection.

3.5 million people in the Netherlands have disabilities, this robot has huge potential to make the museum accessible to people who might otherwise not be able to visit.

Marleen’s presentation was followed by Peter Gorgels from the Rijksmuseum who share their multi-award winning work with opening up the museums collection with Rijkstudio. This encourages members of the public to use the Rijksmuseum collection in creative new ways, making artworks which might be several hundred years old relevant to new audiences (Watch a film of this presentation here).

Peter shared several other inventive marketing initiatives from the Rijksmuseum, from staging a playful intervention in a shopping centre to placing artworks on the baggage carousels in Schiphol Airport.

Much of the work that Peter has done at the Rijksmuseum was made possible by opening up their collection to the public, and this was echoed by Merete Sanderhoff from Statens Museum for Kunst who spoke next about SMK Open which is making her museums collection, which belongs to everyone in Denmark, available to all.

Merete went on to talk about her work with Europeana to create, a framework for impact and a step-by-step guide to plan precisely the kind of impact you want your project to have. It’s designed like a cookbook, free to download and available to all.

After lunch Hilary Knight from Tate presented Virtual Reality Check. Investigating how to integrate virtual reality into a classic art exhibition based on a live Tate case study. Hilary shared the unexpected challenges and questions along with lessons learnt.

Barbara Thiele from the Jewish Museum Berlin spoke about how the museum sees technology as an effective tool to make the museum experience more adaptive and flexible. Barbara then presented some of the museums projects and shared how sustainable solutions in the digital age of culture can be realized through agile management methods and human-centered design processes.

Kajsa Hartig, from the Nordic Museum made her presentation, A Digital Mindset, speaking about how museums are facing the need to be more flexible and risk taking, with a need for a sector wide re-think of work practices and to embrace a digital mindset throughout the organisation.

The final sessions of the day were by Phil Stuart from Preloaded then Guiliano Gaia and Stefania Boiano from Invisible Studio. Phil spoke about The People vs Technology: design principles for a playful age, exploring the shifting landscape of playful technology and opportunities they present to museums. Guiliano and Stefania shared their experience of developing a chatbot as part of an audience development project in Milan.