The greatest challenge confronting museums worldwide is that of relevance, stated Collections Trust CEO Nick Poole in his Keynote Address “Powering the museum of tomorrow” at the CIDOC Conference in Helsinki. The conference reflected CIDOC’s global reach with delegates from Saudi Arabia, China, Australia, Europe and the US.
He said: “The most fundamental question is how we preserve what is essential and unique about cultural heritage - stewardship, preservation, scholarship, interpretation and display - while presenting it in a way that connects intuitively and seamlessly with how people live their lives today”.
Nick Poole told delegates that meeting the needs of future audiences demands museums are flexible, responsive and agile in embracing new technologies and new ways of working. Provenance, authority, information and narrative were all key elements of the value museums uniquely bring to the online world.
“If we are to connect with modern users, we must ensure that the information we create and the systems we use can be repurposed dynamically across platforms and contexts”, he said.
He issued three challenges to the collections community:
• How do we ensure our systems, procedures and standards help our institutions deliver services that are relevant to current and future audiences?
• How do we ensure we give our institutions the flexibility and adaptability they need in order to give their users a sense of agency?
• How do we move away from monolithic practices to deliver systems which explicitly promote the flow of knowledge between the different parts of our institutions?
“Everything we do sits at the heart of the museum. We are its engine room, giving it momentum and powering its work”, said Nick Poole. “Without our work, collections would be lifeless, devoid of meaning and connection. We bring the collection to life, making it meaningful and useful for millions of adults and children all over the world, both in the real world and increasingly online”.
The full text of the presentation is available on the Collections Link website. CIDOC is the International Committee for Documentation of the International Councils of Museums (ICOM).