Museums are awash in all things ‘digital’. We have apps, gallery interactives, virtual reality experiences, video exhibition teasers, social media marketing, online museum shops, ticketing software, CRMs, DAMs, CMS databases — the list goes on. And with all this tech come the expectations for the speed, user experience and amazing content that we have come to expect outside of museums.
Contrast this fast-paced slice of digital experience with the stuff that forms the foundation of museums, our raison d’être: our collections. Museums are filled with thousands, sometimes millions, of objects created over eons. The majority are man-made objects, mostly crafted from traditional media: wood, silver, porcelain, linen, canvas, etc. As museums, our professional goals are all about long-term preservation and access, today and 100+ years on. For these very traditional media, we know what that means (low light; limited handling; stable environment). What happens when the ‘digital’ becomes part of our collections?