Conference paper Open Access

The future of technology in museums

Shehade Maria; Stylianou-Lambert Theopisti

In recent years, a growing emphasis is placed on the applications of new technologies in museum spaces and on the potential advantages that such applications can have on the overall visitor experience (Freeman et al., 2016). This emphasis does not only originate from museum professionals but also from the public, since technology has become a standard that visitors more often expect.
The application of new technologies in museum spaces offers certain advantages to their visitors, with their effect being characterised as “catalytic” (Parry, 2007, p.140). It has been argued that technology brings museums closer to wider accessibility, inclusion and democracy (MacDevitt, 2018). Moreover, the digital turn embraced by many museums “helped to support a realignment of museography from object-centred to experience-centred design” (Parry, 2007, p.81). However, a question that is central to the use of technological innovations is what exactly is a desirable museum experience? Does technology support, rather than overshadow, museum objects? Although a large corpus of literature is devoted to the advantages of technology for museum visitors, the actual evaluation of its effects or possible implications and challenges remain an under-studied area.
Thus, the aim of this paper is first, to explore some of the challenges that museum professionals and visitors face due to the increasing application of new technologies in museum spaces. Second, to envision and discuss the future of technologies in museums.

This work has been partly supported by the project that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 739578 (RISE – Call: H2020-WIDESPREAD-01-2016-2017-TeamingPhase2) and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus through the Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development.
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