Technology and Museums during a Pandemic: Friend or Foe?

Professional Forum

Friday, April 23, 2021: 11:00am - 12:00pm - - Professional Forum

Felicia Ingram, North Carolina Museum of Art, USA, Kevin Kane, , , Emily Kotecki, Museum Learning Consultant and Podcaster, USA, Molly Trask-Price, ,

How can technology be used to enhance engagement rather than distract? How can we identify key design goals for interpretive technology that are agreeable among our directors, curators, designers, technicians, and visitors alike? These persistent questions in interpretive practice have been complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which quickly shifted content strategies across cultural heritage institutions worldwide. Virtual engagement programs became imperative, along with critical safety constraints on in-gallery experiences to reduce risk of pathogen transmission.
Even aside the unique afflictions of a pandemic, navigating the path to technological success has undeniable pain points in exhibition planning and the development of institutional identity. The panelists will be discussing examples of shifts made at NCMA in interpretive design with a focus on how these shifts were met with resistance during the planning and implementation phases.
Some examples this panel will cover include: how travel restrictions affected the installation of art objects with physical “replicas” taking their place. Additionally, how the tensions around planning an interpretive space dedicated to reflection on loss during COVID; and how the ebb and flow of the pandemic impacted collaboration at the NCMA. We hope you’ll join us in cultivating a discourse on post-COVID trends in tech and planning among the wider collection of museum professionals at MuseWeb. During the session, we’ll invite you to share your successes and failures. We’ll share with you our stories of technological revision amid the pandemic.