Illustration: Jean Jullien

Digital | One-size-fits-all does not work

Sophie Frost, 01.10.2019
Small museums need a bespoke approach to digital
For years there has been a drive to increase the role of digital in museums. From immersive visitor experiences to innovative back-office systems, many museums feel stuck by their inability to confidently build a holistic approach to digital.

A major factor is the intergenerational nature of museums’ staff and volunteers, many of whom struggle with digital change. King’s College London’s 2018 Changing Cultures report says such workforces require a dispersed leadership that is “more welcoming to distinctive work styles and preferences”. This is especially the case when it comes to nurturing digital courage. 

Small museums with little digital experience need a bespoke approach. Their needs should be carefully considered, with staff and volunteers being met at their own level, even if all they immediately require is to talk through how to turn something on rather than an exhaustive account of audience analytics.
The government has committed to developing the technical education of the young, but little has been done to promote cross-generational learning and its potential for tackling isolation, increasing independence and building community. 

By creating a well-resourced, long-term, peer-to-peer digital mentoring network, museums can play a civic role in endorsing a values-led, person-centred and context-based approach to learning that advocates cultural plurality above all else.

Sophie Frost is a digital fellow for One by One, the University of Leicester’s digital literacy project for museums