Monday, January 28, 2013

The Short Life Span of Museums

When was the last time you went to a museum? Had the visit impacted your life in any way?

The real question is, was it worth it? In an age when most people are afraid of wasting their time, museums remain a primarily touristic attraction, and may even make some civilians wince at the very thought of long hours (or minutes) spent in a closed area, engulfed in silence. Some suggest that encouraging interactions among visitors could help (such as non linear displays, and implementing the possible usage of social network sharing), while others believe they will be gradually obliterated from society. Much like the librarian in the Twilight Zone, could museums be facing a path towards becoming obsolete?

  It is quite unlikely that they will "go out of business" anytime soon. These are one of the few places where one can immerse themselves in a world different from their own, amongst others with similar intentions, yet feel no obligation to interact with each other. Of course, there are other places that fit that description, such as the subway. This much less stressful experience, however, has become a rare one. Certain individuals may argue that it is a taste to be acquired, which the younger demographic is quickly becoming reluctant to develop. This would explain the theory that social networking would help lengthen the life span of museums. Adapting to newer customs with the constant publishing of our actions is then suggested as a means to livening the passive intake of information experienced at such places as the Louvre or MoMA. Unfortunately, the downside to this is that we risk becoming involved in a constant chatter with technology, forgetting the peaceful solitude these areas once offered.

  As the younger generation is our future, it would indeed be necessary to reach out to them in a modern way. In this case, social networking could be used to instead not only encourage people to visit museums, but also reflect upon their visits. To question what they see, hear and touch is crucial for a full experience. Visitors could research the topic on which the exhibit focuses on, enabling them to form a personal opinion on the subject instead of simply absorbing what is given to them. Areas designated for discussion could be of equal help in stimulating intellectual debates.

A few things to ask yourself when visiting a museum:

  • What do I know about this subject?
  • Is this true, or am I being made to believe it is?
  • What do I think about this?
  • Do I find this interesting?
  • How could this particular exhibit be improved? (What is wrong/right with the space and content)
  • Do I feel inspired?
  • How could I use this information?

Suggestions for after the visit:
Websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr can be used as places to answer the previous questions, write posts on your visit and open a discussion.

Helpful links:

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