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The Future of Museums Group

This research stream connects two main developments that radically alter our understanding of the possibilities for the museum of the future. On the one hand new technologies and media that make possible many new forms of engagement with the public, and secondly the need for research on the public themselves what they bring to and take from museums.

With respect to the first, we envisage research a) on the way new technologies can facilitate collections management, for example, the identification and analysis of degradation of artefacts, b) and the impact of new technologies on object interpretation including knowledge transfer, well-being and health c) the curating of digital forms, based on the way people now keep texts, emails, archive computer materials and the potential of such digital forms as part of museum collections and display. d) the way the study of popular use of digital media can in turn inform the use of new media in the museum and outside the museum to convey information to audiences.

The second theme based on research in the public domain includes a) extending previous work by the Institute of Archaeology and Material Culture on museum visiting, ideally showing how UCL can offer alternatives to marketing research in assessing the impact of exhibitions on the public. b) fieldwork that recognises that every householder effectively curates the objects of their home, and we need a much better understanding of the processes of object acquisition and disposal, including the relation of objects to memory and how objects help people deal with loss. This leads to a concern with how the ethics of disposal and acquisition in a professional context can respect these domestic relations to artefacts.

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