What will museums look like in the future?

Today’s museum visitors are looking for a memorable experience. Museums form part of an ecosystem that is evolving dynamically on the back of digital transformation and societal trends. Technological developments are giving museums new tools to entertain and reach out to their visitors, allowing them to present information in more interactive, intuitive and exciting ways.

Project

Fraunhofer IAO and the Vienna-based research and consultancy group MUSEUM BOOSTER launched the Future Museum research project to identify the latest trends in the museum industry. To assist them in this task, they are working with an innovation network consisting of an exclusive group of museums and suppliers. The primary goal of the two-year research project is to support museums in developing and applying relevant expertise in the fields of digitalization, new technologies, management, exhibition design and visitor journeys. A further goal is to create a network consisting of museum managers, culture and tourism experts, and other special-interest representatives.

Method

The Future Museum project is divided into three phases:

  • Defining present and future challenges and identifying areas for improvement
  • Evaluating and developing potential technological and organizational solutions
  • Elaborating possible future scenarios for museums

The three phases will address a total of 12 primary research questions, which will be presented at six project meetings. In addition, responses to 12 secondary questions will be uploaded to the project’s intranet page in the form of reports.

A key aspect of the Future Museums project is to forge ties between partners in the innovation network and transfer knowledge from research into practice. To achieve this, the project organizers are planning a wide range of networking events, best-practice visits, workshops and presentations of research results. They will also be drawing up reports to document their findings in each of the three project phases and publishing key extracts. Trend analyses, interviews with experts and assessments of the potential for applying technologies in the museum environment will serve as a basis for developing future scenarios for the museum sector. Project partners will be able to leverage the research results, methods and tools to identify strategic fields of action and gauge the potential of concrete solutions.

Fraunhofer IAO will be conducting the majority of the research work in the project, while MUSEUM BOOSTER will be responsible for the project as a whole and take charge of coordinating the innovation network and designing the underlying concepts.