These days, it is rare to find an area of life that hasn’t been impacted by digitalization in one way or another. Over the past 12 months, it has become clear that even the most analog of areas can benefit from taking the plunge into the digital world. Sometimes, however, this is easier said than done. Take the arts, a sector that frequently lives from its character as a live experience and its interaction with the public. How might events make best use of digitalization? And, more specifically, how can a visit to the museum go digital?
In December 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO teamed up with the research and consultancy group MUSEUM BOOSTER to launch Future Museum, an innovation network designed to link up museums and science centers and to drive the introduction of digital technology in this field. The pandemic has intensified the search for new and virtual forms of participation that satisfy museum visitors’ needs. One key question is how a virtual experience might differ from a real museum visit or, indeed, trigger the latter. In order to attain a better understanding of the behavior and expectations of both actual and potential visitors, Fraunhofer IAO has conducted a survey for the Future Museum innovation network. The results were presented at the fourth Future Museum meeting, which was held at the Swiss National Museum in Zurich on July 14 and 15, 2021.
Can virtual formats help insure against future crises?
The online survey ran until March of this year and canvassed the views of over 1000 respondents from various – in the main, European – countries. It was divided into two topics: future and innovation, and experience and expectation. Although just over two-thirds of respondents have already experienced a virtual museum visit, only 35 percent say they would describe it as satisfactory. Moreover, more than half say that a virtual visit can complement an actual visit but not actually replace it. However, 56 percent of respondents do see a virtual visit as an opportunity to enjoy a completely new experience.