Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where to for museums in the next 25 years?

I’ve come across a wonderful paper just published by the American Association of Museums entitled “Museums and Society 2034: Trends and Potential Futures”. I love these future prediction papers. One of my favourite books in the 1990s was “Megatrends 2000” which tried to predict what the 2000s would look like – it got it right on some things but missed out on a few minor issues like the rise of the web and financial meltdown.

However, that book only looked 10 years ahead whereas this paper is looking 25 years on. So, what does it say? Amongst others:
  • A substantial increase in the post retirement population will need museums to rethink how they use volunteers and have exhibit labels in larger print and museums more easily navigable by wheelchair.
  • The current recession may prove to be more than a blip and museums are going to be called upon to play a greater role in sustaining community well-being during a prolonged downturn.
  • As the world continues to go digital and progressively virtual museums will play an even more critical role as purveyors of the authentic, addressing a human desire for the real.
  • Significant new economic value will be produced by creative pursuits and museums will play a vital role in incubating and nurturing such activities. As repositories of knowledge, museums will be sources of inspiration for creative endeavour.

All good stuff. Let’s see where we are in 25 years.

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