Today’s museums seen by postgraduate students / 2

Here is the continuation of the selection of ideas put forward by students from the Postgraduate Course in Museum Management. As you can see, the new waves of museum people have plenty of critical force. Let’s listen carefully to what they have to say.

Intelligent interactive museography: not to trivialization

‘Currently, we can still find museums that belong in the nineteenth century, and others that have exaggerated the formula and become theme parks for family fun.’
Núria C.

‘The museum should be a fluid, dynamic, participatory space that provides interactive tools… It’s a scenario where everyone can be the leading player and share their script, if they want. ‘
Núria G.

Interactive table. Museu de Portimao

‘What’s important is find the right balance, getting closer to the public, whether physical or virtual, without trivializing the work or the institution.’
Líria F.

‘In terms of the understanding and evaluation of a museographical discourse and its context, the virtual museum offers different levels of information to the user (visitor), […] so that the relationship between object, museum and individual is transformed into an interactive dialogue.’
Paola M.

Participation should not be imposed but generated through the creation of mechanisms and spaces that make the visitor feel comfortable and want to go from being a consumer to an agent who gets involved with the museum by ay of various actions.’
Elisenda J.

It’s no longer enough just to show the work, you have to propose meaning, relation, appeal to the visitor with what’s on show […] a new way of explaining art in a relational way in which the collections have no fixed meaning but a meaning that varies according to context, so that the interpretations are infinite and variable. It is the viewer who activates the show, who moves it.’
Esther G.

‘The museum is in a process of complete change and adaptation to the new exhibition proposals and to advances in technology and this keeps it in a permanent test state.’
Laura M.


‘You have to bear in mind that exhibitions are by the museum for the public.’
Teresa G.

‘In art museums, the viewer is a mere passer-by strolling through the rooms.’
Paula G.

‘Museums have to improve their message, learn to explain themselves better. What we need now is dialogue. A lot of dialogue. Museums need to listen to their publics.’
Àlex H.

Different ways to capture the opinions of visitors to the Tate. Technology is not always necessary

‘With some exceptions, museums suffer from a great lack of knowledge of the audiences and especially of the local adult public. Understanding this public as one that doesn’t fall within the domain of the Education Service — schools and family groups — and is not just passing through but could be won over to seeing the museum as something more than an institution you only visit once in your life. […] Slowly, the idea is gaining ground in cultural institutions that the museum visitor is not a mere consumer of contents and services, but can also be an agent, a prosumer that can produce as well as consuming. […] It’s time to get rid of the fear of giving a more central role to the visitors.’
Elisenda J.

‘The museums need to engage with a new visitor who asks for, demands or simply expects a different experience that at present is not fully provided. To do so the museums really have to set themselves certain challenges. […] All too often we segment our visitors according to rather basic socio-demographic variables (age: young vs. older people, or origin: tourist vs. resident); we should also include variables such as interest, motivation.’
Cristina L.

‘The key is in the variety of initiatives that appeal to different publics with different drives. Consequently, it’s obvious that another of the issues that clearly needs to be addressed is market research. How can we try to interest different publics if we don’t know what they’re interested in?’
Alexandra P.


‘… A necessary education plan that is linked not only to the school stage but can be complemented to include other levels.’
Roser C.

‘The university and the museum are two institutions that can create interesting dialogues that enable new visions of and new discourses about the cultural heritage […] educating the public to see and understand art from a critical perspective. The visitor normally has an uncritical relationship, very respectful of but distant from the museum.’
Mariona T.

Postgraduate in Museum Management. Museu Picasso

The immediate environment

‘A museum should be linked to its surroundings, understand the needs and characteristics of its location and its inhabitants, create an open and generous relationship with local visitors, make them feel that the museum is part of the neighbourhood and that they are part of the museum.’
Deborah C.

‘… Instrumentalization of culture, where the role of culture as an economic motor and an energizer of the region trumps any other kind of legitimacy. In the case of museums it can be seen in the enthusiasm of many governments for the construction of large containers. They serve to attract visitors who don’t really know what they are, and they often overlook their local dimension.
Elisenda J.

The web and the social networks

‘We cannot leave the web to do everything that the museum is not capable of doing physically. […] Innovation in communication materials.’
Cristina L.

‘It’s no longer enough to have a website, now the social web 2.0 is much more important, and a museum, like any other company or institution has an obligation to be on it. Everything is within reach of everyone, the information is immediate and it reaches a large number of people from different age groups, cultures and interests of all kinds.’
Teresa G.

‘The social networks are more than just a great tool, they are the way to gain access an environment where if you don’t have a presence you don’t exist for a large number of people.’
Líria F.


‘The public funding of museums […] ends up going against them, causing the museum see no need to make an effort to improve their project to appeal to the public.’
Líria F.

Cultural partnerships between museums enables them to share exhibitions and programmes, share facilities, personnel and technical knowledge, or even share marketing and publicity campaigns.’
Paco G.

‘It’s up to the managers of these cultural institutions to transform the present static provision into an attractive, quality project […] The cultural heritage has become a product on the tourism market, and the museum a medium mass communication. Given this demand on the part of mass tourism for the production of immediate, easily digested knowledge, we must have responsible management to prevent the trivializing of the discourse and make the cultural heritage sustainable and profitable.’
Núria G.

‘The predominance of public institutions means that the structures tend to be more rigid. […] Although the funding received is often not sufficient to develop many projects, it has been enough to survive on, and as a result there has been no pressing need to find strategies to increase self-financing.’
Alexandra P.

‘A museum responsible for the constant activation of its signifieds and the updating of its intentions, constantly developing debates. For this it is important that the museum should have generated its positioning from the specificity of its collection, and generate from it a steady stream of proposals consistent with its specificity, and in keeping with a Strategy Plan that draws up the guidelines for the articulation of programmes and above all sets priorities for the many projects it conceives.’
Cristina L.

‘The plan ensures interaction between the different departments that make up a museum [which] interact from their own fields by participating with the knowledge that is proper to them, applying this for a common goal: a Better Museum.’
Laura M.

‘The local museum scene is completely disorganized. Museums with no valid collection or with no life, devoid of interest or devoid of purpose. No presence on the social networks, obsolete museographies, ways of working and management criteria that belong to the 20th century rather than to our time … The good part? It’s all waiting to be done and there are plenty of people eager to do it.
Àlex H.

You can read more input and ideas on the Postgraduate students’ blog (in Catalan). And also this article by the Museum’s director, and the director of the Postgraduate Course, Pepe Serra, with his ideas about the museums of the future. The article is from 2009, but is still relevant today: knowledge, publics, participation, networking and more, with a podcast included.

Conxa Rodà
Co-Director of the Postgraduate Course in Museum Management

Related Links

Today’s museums seen by postgraduate students / 1

Examining the Postgraduate Course in Museum Management: assessments and improvements

How a museum works: a different Postgraduate Course

Some thoughts from the director on the museums of the future

No Comments Yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Captcha: *