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Do (Not) Try This at the Museum: Lessons from Digital Museum Lab

DEN initieerde in samenwerking met Waag en de Hogeschool van Amsterdam en het Allard Pierson Museum het Digital Museum Lab. Samen schreven ze een artikel over de lessons learned.

Digital Museum Lab is een project waarin de mogelijkheden van technologie en digitale tools voor innovatieve manieren van storytelling rond museumcollecties worden verkend. Belangrijkste do's en don'ts (Engels):

  1. Don’t: focus on your target group only, when organising an event. Do: involve everyone from the start: the museum staff, the participants and the visitors. Communicate clearly about the ambition with the larger organisation.
  2. Don’t: seek inspiration and collaboration in your own network and discipline only. Do: enter unknown terrain, create interdisciplinary collaborations and find (lab) partners from complementary fields of expertise. Work as a team with shared goals and ambitions.
  3. Don’t: think that professionals can be senior people only. Do: collaborate with students and PhD candidates.
  4. Don’t: regard evaluation as something for afterwards. Do: experiment and integrate evaluation in your design process.
  5. Don’t: see innovation as something that comes from the newest technology or the fanciest design studios. Do: see it as something that comes from your staff and a change in the professional culture of your institute. Give your staff the opportunity to experiment with technology, to explore how they want to tell their stories and to be in command when collaborating with external agencies.
  6. Don’t: think that experiments (in making) should be quick and without guiding. Do: take time and ask for support. You need people who can help you when you are stuck and you also need enough time to fail, get stuck, figure out a solution and continue.
  7. Don’t: expect visitors to understand if, how, and when they are invited to respond to your test case. Do: invite them explicitly, be clear about what they can expect, how they can respond to your setup and what you will use their feedback for.
  8. Don’t: think that sharing results or technologies is giving away resources and knowledge. Do: share and learn from each other. This makes the whole professional community stronger.
  9. Don’t: focus on the end product of an experiment. Do: focus on the process and guide the process: trying out a first idea – prototyping – testing your prototype with an audience – designing improvements. This way, expertise about creating museum experiences makes a valuable connection to new knowledge about technologies. O and do: finish a prototype that works and perhaps even looks pretty.
  10. Don’t: think that opening a lab means to simply find a space, acquire the necessary technologies and allow it to be used for experiment. Do: think of the lab as an experiment itself and prepare it well. Define a clear goal on where you want your Lab to lead to: more expertise, improved internal skills, a more innovative image, learning with and from your peers.


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