Reflections on the Future of Museum Storytelling

Question 1. Is the traditional museum unwelcoming to large portions of our society?

The article correctly mentions that most museums are traditionally located in wealthier communities, and typically present their collections from a privileged point of view. While there are many great ways to combat this issue such as opening up museums in underserved areas, one solution I think could be implemented more immediately is to ensure that the people who have a voice in the museum (i.e. curators, designers, etc.) come from a diverse set of background to help ensure that the museum as a space can be more welcoming to people outside of wealthy communities.

Question 4: How can we amplify the voices of the unrecognized?

I found this question somewhat polarizing because on the one hand, I agree that many museums could benefit by doing a better job of recognizing the unheard voices in the stories they tell, particularly in places like history museums where there are almost always several different sides to the same story. I think in cases like The Tenement Museum bringing in unheard immigrant voices to a large online audience is great because that is extending the museum’s core mission. But I think in some cases amplifying the voices of the unrecognized can be a bit less relevant, one example that comes to mind could be a science museum. While there are definitely many examples of unrecognized voices in the history of science if a museum’s goal was to simply demonstrate scientific principles in an interesting manner to its audience these voices may not be as relevant to that museum’s mission.

Question 7: What if your Museum is not ready to engage in the storytelling of the future?

This question brings up the good point that most museums aren’t ready to change the way they do business precisely because they are afraid to change a model they have that is already working. As with most businesses, the only thing that can really force wide-sweeping changes across the industry are strong market forces, so if enough museums are able to implement these new forms of engagement and they become popular enough other museums will be forced to follow to retain their audience. Thus it’s ultimately the will of museum-goers and the dollars that they spend which can enact these changes across the industry, but it is important that some museums make this leap in order for consumers to be able to express their desire for this new type of content.

Can You Apply Transmedia Storytelling to Museums?

Telling transmedia stories can be an effective way to engage audiences and create a more immersive storytelling experience. By dispersing elements of fiction across multiple platforms, creators can reach a wider audience, offer a variety of engagement levels, and deepen the story world. However, it’s essential to ensure coherency and consistency among the different platforms, while staying true to the style of each adaptation medium. Overall, telling transmedia stories requires careful planning and execution, but it can lead to significant rewards in terms of audience engagement and loyalty.

Transmedia storytelling relates to our final project in the sense that data we collect in a museum can be used to create a more immersive and personalized museum experience. By dispersing the statistics we capture across multiple platforms, such as interactive exhibits, social media campaigns, or mobile apps, the museum can engage visitors in new and innovative ways. For example, the data collected from the camera tracking system could be used to generate personalized recommendations for visitors, showcasing exhibits and artifacts that align with their interests.