October 26, 2015
Museums are visual places — we have artwork, design, architecture, objects and photographs. So, thinking about how to provide content in a world that has gone digital — and where the digital world is full of eye candy — is an exciting challenge.
It’s easy to know it’s a changing world when many people are playing Candy Crush, posting on social media, taking selfies, and when kids are issued tablets instead of textbooks.
Our museum, like many other museums, is investing in technologies to create multi-sensory, immersive and interactive experiences. We know most visitors come to the museum carrying their smartphones, so we are exploring ways to deliver experiences using Wi-Fi, mobile apps, beacons and live streams.
Collections are no longer limited to a few galleries and storage shelves. Today, collections can be online, and we are working to add to the thousands of photographs from our archives that are currently searchable online and to create ways to research and explore our collections of artifacts online. People from anywhere around the world can see the remarkable objects of Alaska and the Circumpolar North.
Projects like Van Gogh Alive — The Experience explore how technology can create an experience rather than a static exhibition by creating an immersive space that is activated through video, light, and music. Other projects include Film School, which brings GoPro® cameras and video storytelling into public schools. We highlight creative exploration through youth programs using Minecraft® and Never Alone™ as video games that do not just occupy a screen, but encourage problem-solving and critical thinking. We have a new Youth Digital Board, developed with the humble understanding that youth know far more about technology than most of us grown-ups.
Rather than fighting the selfie culture, Facebook, Netflix and YouTube, it’s important to acknowledge that social media platforms like Snapchat are the new culture, and technology will keep changing our world. It doesn’t mean we don’t treasure the object and the real thing. It doesn’t mean we reject quiet contemplation or that we don’t want to offer the treasured opportunity to escape the madness and unplug. The beauty of technology is that it can all be true at the same time — with a click.