The Future Museum Public: Approaches to Media and Meaning Making

Young people are the future preservers and curators of national collections of art and cultural heritage, and forthcoming participants in societal processes of collective remembering. In targeting this audi­ence, museums have actively incorporated digital and social media into their education and com­munication programs – online, in public spaces, and onsite in galleries and exhibitions. An important aim is to engage young people in meaning making with art and cultural heritage.

At this closing conference for the CONTACT project (Communicating Organizations in Networks of Art and Cultural Heritage Technologies), approaches to engaging young people through media and meaning making are the focus of a full day of presentations. A unique collaboration between university and cultural sectors, the project has created a shared space – ‘experimental zones’ – for investigating how digital and social media for the future museum public may be conceptualized, designed and researched. Three activities will mark the close of the project:

CONTACT Conference

On September 27, a conference will be held for partners, policy makers, and participants from the cultural sector. Key findings from the CONTACT project will be pre­sented along four themes: Places of Engagement, Methods for Engaging, Collaboration and Co-design, and Meaning Making. Conference participants will receive a bound illustrated report on the CONTACT project.

Observe product launch

As part of the conference, a presentation and hands-on demo of the mobile ap­plication Observe will be held. Observe is an innovative ‘visitor studies tool’ that has been developed in collaboration with the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design – a key CONTACT partner, as one of the project’s outcomes. CONTACT has received special funding from the Verdikt Program, Research Coun­cil of Norway, to make Observe commercially available.

PhD Seminar

On September 26, a pre-conference seminar will gather research fellows from the Nordic countries and the United King­dom to discuss and present scientific work related to “Learning perspectives for media design for museums, science centers and heritage sites.” Dr. Alexandra Weilenmann, University of Gothenburg and Dr. Ingeborg Krange, University of Oslo are guest lecturers.

Keynote Speaker

Photos courtesy of Local Projects
Caroline Goeser, Cleveland Museum of Art

On the topic of designing media now for the  future public, we are pleased to have Dr. Caroline Goeser as guest speaker. Dr. Goeser directs the Department of Edu­cation and Interpretation at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where the newly launched Gallery One has drawn national and in­ternational attention and has been featured in an article in the New York Times: “Technology That Serves to Enhance, Not Distract.”  Dr. Goeser received her PhD in Art History at Rutgers University.


09:45 - 10:00     Registration and Coffee

10:00 - 10:15     The CONTACT Project, Palmyre Pierroux, Project Leader

10:15 - 10:30     Museums and the Future Public, Nils Ohlsen, Director of Old Masters and Modern Art, National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design

10:30 - 11:15     From Learning Center to Interactive Experience: Designing Gallery One for Browsing Museum Visitors, Caroline Goeser, Director of Education and Interpretation at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, USA

11:15 - 11:30     Break

11:30 - 12:00     Places of Engagement, Research Fellow Rolf Steier

12:00 - 12:30     Research Methods - Studies of Meaning Making and Engagement, Sten Ludvigsen

12:30 - 13:00     Lunch

13:00 - 13:45     Meaning Making and Young People, Research Fellow Ingvild Andreassen

13:45 - 14:15     Collaboration and Co-design, Dagny Stuedahl, Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Ole Smørdal, EngageLab, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Oslo

14:15 - 14:30     Research and Transforming Practices, Palmyre Pierroux

14:30 - 14:45     Break

14:45 - 15:15     Observe – A New Tool for Visitor Research, Rolf Steier and Jeremy Toussaint, EngageLab

15:15 - 16:00     Observe demo and refreshments

CONTACT researchers

Palmyre Pierroux

Dagny Stuedahl

Rolf Steier

Ingvild Andreassen

Contributing Researchers:

Sten Ludvigsen

Anders Mørch

Andrew Morrison

Ole Smørdal