Museum’s Place in Society and Covid’s Push for A Virtual Integration

What is a Museum

It was fascinating to see that from the start, museums have often been seen as a place for discussion, education, and community, no matter if they were open to the public or acted more like private research institutions. They preserve the history of different societies while reflecting the societal focus during their times. What intrigued me the most was the constant shift between the museum acting as a place for priced collections versus a center for public engagements. I especially liked the quote from Arthur Parker, where he said that “museums that are not changing are in essence ‘dead institutions,’” and that they need to stay relevant to the changes in the world. Their functions change based on the needs and views of the people at the time, and their existence is ultimately serving what the generation of people chooses to see them as. The fact that the modern-day museums are reverting “back to the ancient forum” perhaps reflects our focus on building a connected society that promotes open discussion as well as a deeper link with the local community and history, that for our generation, communication and inclusivity are what we want our museums to entail.

The Pandemic Changed Museums Forever (or Did It?) & How Will Covid-19 Change the Way Museums Are Built?

Last class, there was a discussion about whether or not digital integrations are hurting the museum experience, and these two articles bring up their own solutions and answers. During the lockdown, the physical limitation put on museums forced them to come up with different ways of interacting with the community or simply to stay afloat, and when the only way to present exhibits is through virtual means, they were able to find success in the online world. The way how some individuals changed their minds about online exhibits after these endeavors were interesting to see, such as art historian Rika Hiro’s realization of the benefits of online gallery spaces. It shows that when used the right way, technology and the virtual world can provide a great way to supplement physical exhibitions and enrich the experiences, even for art museums where it seems controversial to include screens or online exhibitions. I hope that as we move further from the covid era, more museums are able to find engaging ways of using digital spaces to improve the museum experience instead of blindly following the trend of virtual integration.