Now is an uncertain time for Museums
Museums are the barometers of social, cultural and technical change. The definition and the role of the new museum in local and global culture are being questioned and radically re-shaped. Museums find themselves in a dynamically shifting realm where time–honored museological standards are becoming increasingly complex and new standards are being set daily. The best museums will be those that can adapt to these changes and meet the needs of their audiences while not losing sight of their missions.
Museum audiences are increasing in number, diversity, and in their expectations. The wide availability of in-depth data and spectacular digital images have created a generation of museum visitors that craves information and expects instantaneous access to sophisticated experiences and ideas. The new museum faces the challenge of maintaining scholarly and professional standards while also being compelling and entertaining enough to compete with their audience’s other numerous leisure time options.
The globalization of culture and the immediacy of social media and electronic communications have significantly advanced the way museum scholars interpret their subject matter for their audiences. Spectacular new exhibition techniques and media allow museums to present multiple viewpoints and to educate and challenge visitors as never before. In today’s highly interconnected and participatory culture, the new museum must find creative ways to embrace and facilitate the active and social ways people now engage with art, history, sciences and ideas.
The more diverse and hybrid museums of today have changed the perception and expectations of a new museum. Today’s museums not only offer unique, social, and meaningful experiences, but are often the new cultural hubs for their communities. Museum leadership staff, boards, and donors increasingly see the potential of architecture as the primary tool for creating landmarks and for marketing the identity of their institution. VernerJohnson is a boutique firm focused on creating iconic designs.