Digital Transformation in Museography

Digital Transformation has become the new paradigm of every company or institution that wants to keep up with the imperative tech wave that we are living nowadays. 

Theory says that Digital Transformation is the adaptation of processes and products, that are originally analogical, to the digital environment through new technologies like Big data, blockchain, robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and a long etcetera, with the aim of improving its efficiency and strategy against the new business model. 

However, Digital Transformation in museography does not only attend to a paradigm shift in technical management. It concerns, above all, human and artistic development, and a new approach to the relationship among visitor, piece, author and the museum itself. 

It covers a very wide range of action, which includes everything from basic data digitization to artistic expression that is far from literal. Finding on the path of the two extremes, new methodologies in heritage’s preservation, or new economic models through digital art. 

These applications, as well as their implications for the new museum model, are continuously advancing and expanding, at such a speed that their innovation can often exceed our understanding of their logical application.

It is no secret that a large part of historians, archaeologists and museologists in general, feel disconnected from this new digital trend, which forces them to sit at computers and analyze Excel tables, instead of working hands on with interesting historical pieces. It is a fact that people involved in cultural management have been cultivated in the appreciation of tangible object value. 

So, why has museography adopted Digital Transformation as its new goal? 

Truth is that this process started a long time ago with database implementation, internet arrival, social digital platforms and digitalization of tangible assets in photos, or 3D models, for obvious practical reasons. But this was just the surface, nothing remarkable in any way.

In addition to that, cultural institutions could no longer avoid the fact that new generations weren’t engaging with the intellectually elevated status of museums. They needed to open their minds to the new reality to survive

But, where to start?

Several books could be written just around this question, but if I had to summarize it, I would say that they opened their gates to digital specialists, while they worked very hard to adapt new narratives, exhibition paths and design (and re-design) of new spaces, with the goal of adapting them to audiovisual and interactive productions, robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and in general, every explorable possibility in digital art

It is a new path where production companies have a big responsibility to preserve historical accuracy, and avoid aesthetic and technical obsolescence in long term exhibitions. It is a work in progress that both parts need to explore together to create the new museum model.