Session Proposal: Finding a Balance Between Museum Collections and Digital Enhancements

Technology offers countless ways to enhance the visitor’s experience in museum galleries. As museums continue to search for ways to employ new technology, it is important to ensure that these technologies enhance rather than eclipse the collection objects on display.

As museum audiences, especially younger visitors,┬áincreasingly gravitate to the next shiny new screen in any given gallery, how can we maintain the primacy of the physical object? What museums have successfully used new technology to enhance the visitor’s experience, and how have they done so? What pitfalls should be kept in mind when considering the use of new technology in museum galleries? In what instances might digital materials serve as a useful replacement for an object too delicate to be displayed for prolonged time periods?

Categories: General, Museums, Session Proposals |

About george.sferra

After studying at Loyola University Chicago's Rome Center, I have persued a career in arts administration. I was employed at the Art Institute of Chicago before relocating to New York City, where I now work at the Metropolitan Museum in the department of Arms and Armor. At the Met, I am tasked with managing our digital collections database, The Museum System, which provides public content about our collection on the Met's website. It is a fascinating time to be working in museums, as we shift from a well established and proud tradition of paper recording and archiving to become an ever-expanding digital resource. THATCamp Museums offers a chance to explore the practical challenges and solutions that pertain to my work at the museum, but I think it will also foster discussion of the more abstract areas of technological and cultural theory. This is a topic I find quite interesting, and I think it important to consider where we are headed as a community both physical and virtual. As younger generations come of age and we as a society gain comfort with technology and the virtual, where will museums, largely grounded in the physical object and space, find themselves?