Home Artistic creation Digitization of museums: culture connects with the public

Digitization of museums: culture connects with the public



Art and culture are adapting to a new, increasingly connected audience. For years, museums and cultural spaces have faced the challenge of connecting with a public whose tastes and ways of interacting with their environment are constantly evolving.

And that connection process inevitably involves digitization. Joan Santacana, professor at the University of Barcelona, ​​explains how this relationship has changed and how it is now two-way in his study “The digitization of culture and its implications for museums and heritage”.

On the one hand, those responsible for these spaces are interested in knowing what the visitor thinks and says, and on the other hand, they must meet the new expectations of the public, and offer more than a simple series of exhibitions. .

Digitization has also become an effective tool that can help industry in crisis situations. The cultural sector and its museum and conservation activities were affected during the economic crisis of 2008. Today, the coronavirus crisis is once again hitting this professional sector.

Culture in the face of COVID-19

As of April 2020, almost all museums in the world remained closed due to the coronavirus, according to a study by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). As a result of this closure, many museums have stepped up their digital activities and, although almost half of the museums that participated in the study are already present on social networks or have shared their collections online before the lockdown, the activities digital communication skills for museums have increased by at least 15%.

Museums in Spain were closed for 91 days on average, but 96% of them reopened after closing. The Spanish Observatory of Museums highlights the impact of these cultural spaces, but also the resilience of a sector deeply attached to its fundamental functions and to its audience.

Benefits of new technologies

The process of digitizing the cultural heritage of museums is a slow one, but the use of new technologies has brought very important benefits to this sector.

  • Conservation of cultural heritage: the creation of digital archives of the museum’s collections and their cataloging facilitates their conservation and study.
  • Contact with the public: Connectivity has made it possible to maintain a dialogue between cultural spaces and the public, through their social networks and official websites, and has stimulated the return of places, after their reopening, using mainly online dialogue.
  • Democratization of art: Museums are places to meet and promote different artistic representations, from different eras and cultures.
    Connectivity breaks down the barrier of physical spaces and brings cultural heritage to every corner. Online resources are always available for everyone’s enjoyment.
  • Improved experience. The use of technologies such as 5G or virtual reality (VR) improves the user experience. On the one hand, it makes it possible to take advantage of one-off events or remote virtual tours thanks to the capacity of the latest generation mobile network.
    On the other hand, VR facilitates new experiences even in a face-to-face format, enriching the visit of exhibition spaces.
  • Educational function: The digitization of cultural heritage is a powerful tool for education and learning. A clear example is the MOOCs produced by Telefónica in collaboration with the Prado Museum.
    In addition, the technology is also developing fun resources and immersive 3D VR experiences, which make it possible to reconstruct paintings in remote or non-existent places.