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Using refurbishment as an occasion for museums to rethink their outreach

Ilke Kocamaz, a PhD candidate at the University of Exeter, has an interesting point on the Material World blog today.

Taking Malraux’s notion of the ‘museum without walls’ as her a point of departure, Kocamaz reminds us that the museum as a concept is not dependent on any particular place or time — and then relates this to the process of rebuilding, refurbishment and rebranding that museums undergo now and then.

Her point is that such refurbishment processes are both a time of crisis and an opportunity for museums, because they have to somehow continue their activities without losing their customers. She gives the example of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter (UK):

While being shut down, the museum takes its collections to many different interest groups and keeps its relationships up and running with them. The museum is becoming ever more immaterial, using the Internet and other technological sources and extending its boundaries to become a global player.

In other words, the museum is using the refurbishment process as an opportunity to find new ways of relating to the public, instead of being restricted to the usual local audience.

So what conclusion can we draw from the RAMM example? What about refurbishment perpetual beta?

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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