Over the last few years we have been wondering how the museum of the future might look. We imagined scenarios and did prospective analysis. There were also conferences where we – unsuccessfully – tried to find new ways of defining museums. There was no rush and we did it facing a future that seemed far away. And then, the future was here. Many of us were not prepared for a version of the future where our doors are closed, our halls are empty, and our publics only reach us through digital platforms. A new concept of the museum is now being shaped as the institution itself is transforming.
So yes. The challenge to go digital and to find ways to create connections in a socially isolated society is important. I think everyone knows this by now. I’m more worried about asking questions.
What are these connections we want to make? What is it that we have in our collections that is relevant to what our visitors have been through today? Are we bringing it to them in a way that is accessible and not patronizing? Can we be a space that not only houses and protects knowledge, but that also encourages the creation of new knowledge and takes part in that process by opening its resources to discussion, transformation, debate and – why not – criticism? These are the types of questions that will define our survival.