“Time passes and I “pass” in time, it’s a phenomenon that I live, that I feel, that transports me irresistibly. All I know for sure is that he’s older than me, but when did it start?”
This montage of more than 600 images from the Hubble Space Telescope celebrates the telescope’s 30 years of discovery. From our own cosmic neighborhood to the far reaches of the universe, Hubble has opened our eyes to breathtaking new views of the cosmos. The rapid sequence echoes Hubble’s fast pace of exploration. Though numerous, these images are just a glimpse of the data collected by Hubble over the past 30 years, and only a tiny sliver of our vast universe.
What does your museum sound like? I’m not referring to the chatter of schoolchildren or the ambient hum of dehumidifiers. I mean what do the words you use in marketing, wayfinding and interpretation sound like? More usefully, who do these words sound like?
Every piece of written communication produced by a museum tells visitors something about who the organisation is and what it stands for. The words, punctuation and sentence structures museums employ – and the perspectives they take – have power. They may invite and engage; they more bore or even exclude.
Imagine someone visiting your museum for the first time. Do the external signs sound warm and welcoming? Does the entrance signage invite them in or put them off? Does the wayfinding include terms they understand? Does the interpretation appreciate their lived experience and value their point of view? Does it sound like words pumped out by a faceless institution or does it feel like it was written by a living, breathing individual, complete with personal experience, emotions and flaws?
By Manuel Charr
Original paper on MuseumNext >
A modern take on the historic struggle to liberate the French capital from Nazi oppression has been launched at the Museum of the Liberation of Paris. The museum, which opened in 1994 as the Musée Jean Moulin in honour of one of the Resistance’s greatest heroes, has since been renamed and it is now a pioneer of ground-breaking mixed reality technology. The Microsoft system, HoloLens, has been deployed in the museum to bring much of the final struggle to overturn the German invaders to life.
According to Nino Sapina and Diego Fernandez-Bravo of Realcast – the mixed reality specialists who developed the high-tech visitor experience – the opportunity to use HoloLens at the museum was an exciting one. The museum is situated in a government bomb shelter that was first constructed in 1938. However, the site was left unoccupied during the period of Nazi takeover in the French capital from June 1940 onwards. It ended up being used as a base for some of the Resistance networks that sprung up in Paris. As of August 1944, following D-Day, it became the centre of operations for the Resistance as the Paris uprising began.
Manchester Museum recently returned items taken from Australia more than 100 years ago to Aboriginal leaders, the latest move in an ongoing debate over calls to “repatriate” museum artefacts to their countries of origin.
It’s part of a wider discussion over to what degree museums need to reform and “decolonise” away from displaying collections that were gathered or stolen from other countries during the colonial era, in a way that portrays foreign cultures as strange or inferior and other nations as unsuitable possessors of the world’s cultural heritage and knowledge. Major institutions including the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum have been caught up in the debate.
One way forward may be found in digital technologies that can enable people to access representations of other cultures in fair, interesting ways, without cultural institutions needing to hold on to controversial artefacts. For example, with 3D imaging and 3D printing we can produce digital and physical copies of artefacts, allowing visitors to study and interact with them more closely than ever before.
Copying artefacts has a surprisingly long history. Many ancient Greek statues that we have today are actually Roman copies made hundreds of years after the originals. Famous Renaissance artists’ workshops regularly produced copies of artwork. In the 19th century, museums produced copies through processes that involved making a mould of the original item, such as casting and electrotyping. The famous diplodocus skeleton “Dippy” actually exists as a number of copies in museums all over the world.
Proactively addressing inequalities and exclusion becomes essential for museums when fulfilling their mission to serving society.
This becomes even more important in a context of increasing movements of populations, polarisation and divisive public discourses. Museums deal with these issues by working on diverse themes such as participation, accessibility, well-being, gender, marginalization and inclusion/exclusion through a variety of activities.
Teacher: Hugo Ryser
During the autumn semester 2019, I took a training course in animation at the HKB. I developed an animation to present the history of the Neuchâtel Observatory. This experience allowed me to understand the technique and to think about presentation solutions for the public. The idea is to be able to explain different aspects of the Observatory’s history in a didactic way.