The content I want to comment on is Nina Simon’s TED Talk on Participatory Museum. I resonate with her thought on implementing designed opportunities to encourage visitors’ contribution to the museum. Reflecting on my personal experience, there were many scenarios where I was eager to participate but discouraged by the fear of awkwardness in the public setting. Reasons behind this result include lack of structure, emphasis, and creativity in the way interactions are designed and practiced. For example, visitors are likely to walk away from an activity without enough instruction to avoid making mistakes; visitors might have concerns over sounding too serious in their responses; visitors can simply feel indifferent about the activities. Across all three situations, the failure to achieve a successful participatory experience all has to deal with how interactions are delivered, which can potentially be improved through technology, system, and human intervention. Similar to Nina’s point on using artifacts as social objects to connect people and bridge gaps, I believe that the key to successful delivery is fostering an immersive environment where participants feel safe, comfortable, and free to take actions and interact.
As Nina showed in the video, a lot of the current participatory practices have to deal with interior decorations and installations with the target age group of children and teenagers. I am curious about how museum curators can continue to expand the scope of their prospective audience, potentially through the implementation of AR/VR technological devices. I am also wondering how the concept of participatory exercises can further extend to interacting the visitors with the existing artifacts, and how to maintain a balance between appreciating the original artwork and new transformations.