Redefining the Notion of the Museum in the Digital Age: Web 2.0 Technologies and Contemporary Museum Theory

By Seth Thompson.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The introduction of digital media and the Internet in the early 1990s into the mainstream cultural landscape prompted new considerations and opportunities for museums to develop and engage with audiences using novel forms of didactic experiences. During this time, both museums and media encountered a paradigm shift in which the notions of accessibility and participation expanded their definitions respectively. Using digital media and, more specifically, Web 2.0 technologies, the museum may not only enhance its ability to act as a mediator between object and audience—allowing for visitors or users to learn, question and engage in ways that have not been possible before—but it also changes the notion of the museum from a material complex to that of an interface in which the museum becomes a communicative device. Within this context, this paper will draw from contemporary museum theory and recent experimentation in social media and virtual construction to explore this changing notion of the museum in the digital age.

Keywords: Museums, Web 2.0, Social Media, Website Design

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.173-180. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.588MB).

Seth Thompson

Assistant Professor of Design, School of Architecture and Design, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Seth Thompson is an educator and arts journalist involved in documenting and interpreting art, design and culture through print and online presentations. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Design at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. In addition, he has written on the arts for such magazines as Afterimage, Art Calendar, Bidoun and Dialogue. Thompson's documentaries, Evolving Traditions: Artists Working in New Media and Outside the Box: New Cinematic Experiences have aired on such television stations as PBS 45 & 49, Northeast, Ohio; KDOL Channel 18, Oakland, California; DUTV, Philadelphia, PA; and Triangle Television, Auckland, New Zealand. Thompson began his career at Harvestworks Digital Media Arts in New York City where he was the Business Manager and Education Director. In addition to teaching at The University of Akron and Cuyahoga Community College, he was a Contractual Artist/Lecturer with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Associate Educator at the Akron Art Museum. Thompson holds a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado, an MA in Visual Arts Administration from New York University and an MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College.

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