Museums are cultural authorities. Their expertise has informed visitors about the past, present, and future through interpretation and education for decades.
Yet new Internet technologies are challenging this model of “museum as authority.” New tech enables visitors to become active participants in the museum experience — contributing to knowledge and creating their own meaning within museum spaces.
A primary new mode of museum communication has been the website: a portal to new worlds for those who visit — and don’t visit — the museum. The possibilities for virtual interpretation are nearly endless, but many museums struggle with balancing this new tech and their age-old role as authorities.
How are museums utilizing their websites? How are visitors engaging with the museum online?
Maria Komarova, a student at Kansas State University, recently conducted a study investigating the tensions between democratic and authoritative approaches to online museum experiences. She examined the use of interactive technologies at 15 art museum websites’ to find the successes — and failures — of museums’ technology use.
Today’s post highlights her study’s findings. It talks about how museums are utilizing their websites, and whether such uses are engaging visitors. It is a quick summary based on “Interactive Technologies on Art Museum Websites” by Maria Komarova, submitted in partial fulfillment for her Master of Science degree at Kansas State University.
“Interactive Technologies on Art Museum Websites” by Maria Komarova was submitted in partial fulfillment for her Master of Science degree at Kansas State University.
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