Assets, platforms and affordances

The constitutive role of media in the museum

Authored by: Kathleen Pirrie Adams

The Routledge Handbook of Museums, Media and Communication

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138676305
eBook ISBN: 9781315560168
Adobe ISBN:


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As we begin to see traces of digital technology becoming normative in organisations, we are challenged to re-think a number of our assumptions about the museum’s structures and strategies. One way of answering such a challenge is by proposing a new vocabulary for describing the core provision of the museum, one that presupposes digital media’s presence not only in the museum’s surroundings, but within its core provision as well. Specifically, what is proposed here is that we think about the collection as comprising “assets,” exhibitions as “platforms”, and interpretative activities as being about the management of “affordances.” In this way, this chapter uses the language of computation and interface design to suggest a way of aligning core museum provision with the symbolic forms of the prevailing culture.

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