Museum as a platform

Much of the literature dealing with digital economy recognize the advent of the so called Web 2.0 as a revolution which has transformed the Web into a platform for sharing contents or information. The revolution lies not just in the development of new technological applications, but has become a veritable philosophy, whereby users no longer behave as simple consumers of information, but wish to make a contribution with their experiences and interpretations.

The passage from authoritarian transmission to a development where knowledge surfaces from negotiation and experience has changed the role of museums. After having presented truths enclosed in displays, they have asked everyone what the meaning of those truths is and started preserving the answer. This change in the ways knowledge is shared and created – or, better, co-created – brings to the surface the multi-layered dimensions that a cultural heritage embeds. Following the constructivist theories, cultural objects are not fixed content to be conveyed to the public, but multi-faceted prisms that change depending on the way they are viewed and on the free associations each viewpoint elicits in each individual.

Adopting the platform model is a great opportunity for museums and may become the point of strength of their development strategy: their sustainability, their own existence, depends upon the relationships they create and the meaning that individuals find in them. Transforming the museum into a platform for sharing, participating and co-creating contents – in the virtual as well as in the physical dimension – requires a preliminary in-depth reflection and the potentiality of the typologies of interactions and relations it carries.

So far, many museums have shown their ability to update their instruments, contents and activities: personalizing online visits, developing educational platforms, creating virtual communities, collecting immaterial knowledge of the city.

Anlyzing, comparing and promoting platform models for museums will be one of the main focuses of this blog.

Stefania Zardini Lacedelli