ICT for Museums and Heritage

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How does this fit into cultural theory and the development of Museums ?

Interpretation in early Museums was essentially by Museum Labels and the Guided Tour. The predominant philosophy was of the Enlightenment - often called liberal humanism by literary theorists. (the Cabinet of Curiosities) and the prime audience was the cognoscenti, the antiquarian, the intellectual.

In the 19th Century, as education for the masses began to emerge, more information was necessary - the label was augmented by didactic Panel, dioramas were introduced . The authorial voice remained with the Curator - with the general public becoming the audience.

In the 20th Century, the trend to populism continued with curatorial writing attempting to be more popular - targeted perhaps at a Daily Mirror reader, with reconstructed room settings, information rich displays - almost books on the wall, helping make interpretation easier. Modernism became the leading philosophy.

With improved technology, increased leisure and the beginnings of the Knowledge economy, Museums in the late 20th Century began to embrace edutainment. Dioramas were replaced with Dark rides and simulators, and with increased use of film. The introduction of the internet, multi-media and the new post-modernist philosophy allowed alternative voices to be heard, and encouraged some curators to experiment with different authorial voices

In the 21st Century, web 2.0 and the development of participative theories and practices, encourages not only the use of multiple voices, but of collaboration and participation in creating new Museum experiences.


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