MIST: Museum Interfaces, Spaces, Technologies

Lead Research Organisation: Goldsmiths University of London
Department Name: Goldsmiths Digital Studios


Museums are the repositories of our cultural heritage. They have the often contradictory roles of protecting our heritage and providing access to it. The MIST network will explore these two roles by discussing what kind of places museums are, what they could be and how new thinking on space and technology could transform the kind of access they can provide. We will the define and begin the development of new technologies and new ways of embedding technologies that will make museum visits (both real visits and virtual visits via the website) more meaningful and exciting. These technologies may well include physical interfaces that make ephemeral digital representations tangible; ways of using the web and objects taken from the museums to embed a museum visit within the life of a visitor, providing him or her with pre-visit information and post-visit memory aids and routes to further development; and ways of connecting the museum space with people and spaces outside.

Planned Impact

The potential impact of this network is large. It can transform the way museums and galleries interact with their visitors, granting new levels of engagement. The principal researchers have working relations with many of Britain's most visited museums: Tate, the British Museum, the Science Museum, etc. We, therefore, expect them to play a part in the network and the follow-on projects. Therefore, the impact on our own and our children's access and understanding of our cultural heritage could be quite substantial. Also, these museums are important parts of the tourist sector, so our network could make an eventual difference to the UK economy through the tourism industry. Moreover, one of the outputs of the network will be guidance to the creative industries about what can and should be designed, yielding yet another potential benefit to a large sector of the UK economy.

Moreover, by providing better digital access to museum collections, we may decrease the demand put on the objects themselves, thereby helping to preserve important objects in our cultural heritage.


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