World is changing, people are changing and museums are changing. Museums has been evolving in time, from Mouseion of Alexandria which was also connected with the library, through cabinets of curiosities, museums as places of encyclopaedic education like Musaeum Kircherianum, national museums, which were supposed to showcase diversity and glory of different nations. Museums are changing also now, as we are approaching different technologies and types of narration.
People who were born after 1980 often are called digital natives and those who were born before that time called digital immigrants. There are big differences between those two types of people. For digital natives technology is natural, they do not fear it and they like it. They use it for fun, to learn and to socialise. Digital natives can multitask and they learn ad hoc, fast. World for them is like a sand box, they take what they need at particular time. Digital immigrants tend to take world more linear. This has been noticed by museums.
According to ICOM, current definition of the museum states:
A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment.
Although this definition started to become outdated in nowadays fast changing reality, where museums become not only physical places with physical artifact it still have few most important values – education, study and enjoyment.
Museums more often think about games and gamification (very loosely translated as teaching technique which is using gaming experiences to motivate and engage users to learn something) and use of technologies to enhance museum exhibitions.
Well designed games at museum exhibition can create more immersive and very educative environment for visitors. Adding digital layer to the exhibition can attract young people, change their opinion about museums and create inclusiveness. As more and more digital natives are approaching museums, museums should change accordingly.
Unfortunately digital solutions are still expensive and some museums have very little knowledge about creating digital layer for their exhibitions. We strongly hope and believe that more and more even small museums will be able to create cooperation with universities and other educational institutions to create more engaging content for young visitors.