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8 trends that are transforming museums
Nobody would have thought that a so-called ‘epidemic’ in Wuhan, China, would take over the world and quickly acquire the shape of a pandemic. With all the global activities being affected by the Covid-19, everybody had to morph themselves and their lifestyle to ensure that the virus didn’t expand any more.
The world of museums was also affected by the pandemic and ended up losing a lot of business because the entire essence of the museum experience revolves around on-site visits, which were prohibited due to enforced security measures.
Despite this downfall, museums continue to act as a holy place for art, architecture and history. They exhibit the creativity that artists bring to their canvas. They celebrate the victorious successes that were achieved in the past and reminisce about the influential and most devastating episodes in history. Museums have the power to impact the mindset of its visitors and alter their views.
Covid-19 might have dented the concept of museums but definitely not the spirit it holds in its core. In this article, we discuss the top 10 museum trends that are transforming museums and their relationship with its visitors.
1. Multisensory experience: the future of museums
As the world of technology is evolving at such a rapid rate, it gets hard to keep up and people are always looking for the next best thing to stimulate their senses. Multisensory experiences are a great way to achieve this as they tap into more than one of your senses.
Augmented reality (AR) is likely to completely change the field of museums and how the world sees them. It’s expected that starting from 2020, museums will be keener on pursuing this method of multi-experience to attract visitors.
2. Museums trends shaped by the VR culture
Virtual reality (VR) completely changes how we look at things. It feels like being in a specific place while not really being there. Virtual reality technology is something that museums have started to explore and it is likely to affect the way museums operate.
Imagine seeing a painting and being able to virtually step into its majestic world or learning about the history of your country from the comfort of your own home. With the use of virtual reality, all of this is possible. Museums could use this technology in different creative ways, as the applications are endless!
3. Museum technology: Voice command
Voice commands will allow customers and museum staff to facilitate their daily tasks. It will be easy for a visitor who has an interest in a particular topic to find all the data related to it just by expressing it. It is also a great way for museums to collect data and information.
4. Museum attendance
Another significant trend that has recently made an appearance on the museum scene is museum attendance. This trend deals with advertising how safety precautions for the covid-19 are part of the new museum experience and how the flow of visitors is limited. It allows customers to go to the museum and enjoy their visit rather than worry about their safety.
5. Know what your customer wants
This is probably one of the most followed trends currently in the museum industry. It has opened new opportunities for museums to reshape their identity. Museums have often been regarded as monotonous or traditional in their approach, but that is changing. Now, proper research is conducted on what a specific group of people expects when they come to a museum to create more impactful experiences.
6. Museum apps
In 2021, you can forget about traditional audiobooks. Museum apps are taking the center stage by digitizing the museum experience. Apart from being safer as customers can use their own mobile devices, museum apps can be customized and include a lot of useful information, interactive maps, etc.
Much like with retail shops, museums have to provide added value to customers and museum apps are another great way to do that. These applications give insight into the details of the exposition or museum before a visit. They can also include links and data that are relevant to different pieces of art or artists.
7. Creating a smooth experience
Museums can create a smoother experience by making sure clients don’t have to wait in line, buy tickets in-person, etc. All this can be avoided with the use of digital technology. Everything you imagine going wrong, digital optimization can solve. Simple changes like these can make a big difference in customer satisfaction!
8. Take into account every detail
This last trend is more likely to be applied to customers that come to the museum for its conventional and traditional essence. They normally come to the museum and hope to find what they are looking for, which is usually data and information on a topic or piece of art that piques their interest. The museum must have sufficient data and statistics that are well researched in order to meet the expectations of all visitors.
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Some of the trends we have mentioned concern the Covid-19 pandemic, while others are just applicable in general. In both cases, it’s pretty evident how these trends have the potential and power to fully boost the museum industry and make it a more thriving and entertaining one.
How to implement cultural mediation in museums
What is museum mediation?
Museum mediation is a form of cultural mediation that is specifically tailored to the needs and demands of museums.
In order to understand the intersection of cultural mediation and museum mediation, you first need to understand the nuances of cultural mediation. Cultural mediation is the forging of connections between people and cultures in a seamless and informative manner.
It’s a phenomenon that aims to provide individuals with access to an understanding of cultures alternative to their own. As a species, the human race has the opportunity of being exposed to a plethora of different cultures and ways of being. Cultural mediation aims to bring different cultures together in an innovative way.
Museum mediation takes the basic ideas of cultural mediation and applies it to the settings of museum exhibitions and other similar cultural institutions. This specific form of mediation attempts to disrupt the hierarchies often associated with art and museums in order to make exhibitions more accessible to more people.
By providing interactive and participatory concepts and activities alongside the works of art and exhibitions, museums offer individuals a way to better understand the cultural background of different pieces of art.
Mediation tools are quickly becoming a common practice throughout museums as they provide innovative ways for the public to access art and other cultures. Ultimately, museum mediation offers individuals a deeper understanding of alternate cultures through art.
What are the different forms of cultural mediators?
A museum’s cultural mediation can be implemented in a few different ways, depending on what best fits your exhibits and target market. For example, the types of mediators you would need to use for children differ greatly from the mediators you would use for adults.
In person cultural mediator
An in-person mediator is one of the most traditional forms of cultural mediation within museums. These are people who are stationed throughout the museum who are available to help visitors bridge the gap between the art they are seeing and the cultural significance behind it.
They have knowledge about the exhibit and are often experts in the field who have studied and researched the subject matter and its background extensively. Integrating in person cultural mediators throughout a museum provides visitors with the opportunity to further develop their own knowledge and research on particular works of art.
Digital cultural mediators
Although in person cultural mediators have been the norm in museums for a long time, the technological climate of the 21st century has also facilitated the introduction of digital cultural mediators. Digital mediators provide visitors with the same knowledge but it’s conveyed in a different manner.
Digital cultural mediators are popular as they are extremely versatile. Not only are they easy to use, they are also adaptable and extremely accessible. All the cultural knowledge, background research and depth of information can be made available at the tip of your fingers, which makes it a popular option for museums in the 21st century.
Why is cultural mediation important in museums?
In today’s fast paced and technologically driven world, it’s difficult to get people to engage with things for a long period of time. People need instant answers or constant engagement in order to commit to something. Thankfully, cultural mediation can step in and help museums interact with their visitors!
Here are the top three reasons why cultural mediation is important in museums:
Cultural mediation helps individuals expand their cultural knowledge. It can be easy for people to walk through an exhibition and leave without having learned anything new or taken any of the cultural significance of the art exhibit in.
Cultural mediation tools within museums encourage visitors to learn autonomously through participatory activities. Cultural mediation helps individuals access autonomy of thought, which allows them to develop a deeper cultural understanding.
Keep up to date
Museum mediation is by definition an extremely flexible tool, which allows museums to continuously create discussions centered around current topics and debates, ensuring exhibits stay relevant.
It can be easy for museums to be viewed as a simple gateway to the past. However, by introducing different forms of mediation, mediators can present individuals with an alternate way of thinking about the art in front of them and bridge the gap between historic cultural context and modern day interpretations.
In addition to the broader effect that museum mediation can have on people's understanding of the world and different cultures, it’s also a useful tool within the museum itself. Introducing mediation into museums allows curators to tailor exhibits to appeal to specific target audiences.
As mediation can come in different forms, it’s possible to target exhibits to certain groups of people through museum mediation. You can do this by adapting your mediation tools and customizing the experience based on your target audience’s learning style and interests.
For example, interactive educational games are an appropriate form of cultural mediation for children, whereas a more formal setting or workshop is an appropriate form of mediation for adults and older individuals. By analyzing your target audience and adapting your mediation tools, you are more likely to boost attendance at your exhibitions.
Unfortunately, the traditional setup of exhibition spaces is inaccessible to many. Museum mediation can provide a solution to this problem.
The beauty of mediation is that it’s not confined to a single space or format, it’s completely adaptable. In recent years we have seen museum mediation leverage the digital sphere to make exhibits available internationally. More locally, museums have sent mediators into rural and city areas to bring exhibits to life outside of the museum.
There is an array of different ways that museums can use mediators to insert their exhibit into the lives of the wider public. Museum exhibitions can have a much wider reach and encourage far more participation and interest into cultural spheres.
How to implement museum mediation?
Implementing cultural mediation into your museum is an exciting prospect, and there are companies who can help you along the way.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Invest in apps
An initial investment into something as simple as an app can help you break down the digital barriers that you may be facing. Curators and museum owners often have an aversion to integrating digital aspects to their exhibits due to the traditional nature of museums. However, the benefits that technology can afford your museum is worth the jump.
Implementing digital mediators is an extremely simple process, as companies who provide such services ensure their apps are user-friendly and easy to set up. Such apps provide you with the tools needed to digitize content, allowing you to provide a more interactive experience to your visitors.
The best companies offer options that collate usage data and provide you with reports and feedback to allow you to improve aspects of your museum and overall experience.
Experience in schools
In addition to implementing mediation physically in your museum, you can also branch out and create extensions of your museum experience in schools. The school environment is the perfect place to integrate cultural mediation as it’s always a priority for schools to facilitate learning.
Museum mediation that is implemented in schools brings your exhibition to life outside of the exhibition space. It introduces cultural and social information into schools in a fun, informative and interactive way. Simply hiring mediators to go into schools can have the desired effect of making your exhibit accessible and interesting to a younger audience.
Although school children and students benefit from high energy and interactive forms of cultural mediation, you must also be aware that this is not how everyone learns. Alternate forms of museum mediation should therefore be considered, such as lectures and workshops, that would suit a more mature audience.
Running lectures alongside your exhibit can give people the opportunity to gain more in-depth knowledge about the cultural surroundings of the art pieces within your museum. It’s a less personal and more generic setting, which is often preferred by people who may be anxious to approach mediators one-on-one.
Moreover, running workshops is an alternative form of museum mediation that gives individuals the chance to further expand their cultural knowledge. They are more interactive than lectures and still give people the opportunity to have one on one discussions with knowledgeable mediators if they wish.
Cultural mediation goes hand in hand with the information that museums are trying to convey. The context and background knowledge provide individuals with a more in depth and coherent understanding of works of art and other exhibition pieces.
Cultural mediation allows museum exhibits to be accessible to more people. As cultural mediation can be directly injected into communities and public spaces, museums are able to widen their reach and encourage individuals to cross-cultural boundaries