‘Our Museum’ is a project, in which eight Danish museums and five universities have joined forces to study how the Danish public can benefit more from the national museums’ mediation of cultural heritage.
Grantee: Professor Kirsten Drotner, Department for the Study og Culture, University of Southern Denmark
Project: 'Danish museum mediation - history, design and evaluation'
Grant: EUR 1.3 million from VELUX FONDEN and same amount frem Nordea-fonden
‘Our Museum’ is a four-year national research and development project on innovative and digital museum mediation. The project has also received matching co-funding from a circle of applicants.
The project will be led from a secretariat at the University of Southern Denmark, which will be responsible for the comprehensive coordination of the many stakeholders involved. The project group staffing totals eight senior researchers, two postdoctoral researchers, 11 PhD fellows and eight museum practitioners. In 13 sub-projects, they will be analysing and mapping parameters and opportunities for museum mediation, both past and present, to shed light on how cultural mediation practices have changed and can change going forward for the benefit of even more users.
For VELUX FONDEN, this project builds on its existing museums programme, under which it has made grants to a number of collective research and cultural mediation projects at museums in Denmark. ‘Our Museum’ addresses the basic conditions and problems that constrain museums generally. In this way, it is similar in nature to the foundation’s metaprojects under its humanities programme. At the inauguration, Executive Director, Ane Hendriksen, VELUX FONDEN, said:
“This is a significant project for us because it builds on dialogue and partnership between the institutions we support. We have every confidence that this project will not only achieve excellent outcomes for the museums, but also serve to bridge divides, and foster partnerships and new insights that will hold great benefits for the museums and their visitors. We look forward to following you and making use of the results”. /
THE FIRST YEAR – IN BRIEF
The project’s focus in the first six months was to coordinate all the parties involved (staffing, partnership agreements and organisation). In June 2016, the entire project group met for its initial residential conferencing sessions on the project’s vision, value, outputs and benefits.
Kick-off. In August 2016, the research-oriented unit of the project group convened for a one-day seminar themed ‘The Effective Research Plan’. The focus here was centred around the 13 research plans that will be charting the course for the coming four years. The seminar served as a kick-off meeting for the newly appointed PhD fellows’ and postdoctoral researchers’ research planning.
Fine-tuning the research plans. In October, the senior researchers, postdoctoral researchers and PhD fellows worked to refine the research plans to delineate the research questions with a view to ensuring cohesion and joint progress within the project. All the research plans were approved at the respective universities by Christmas 2016.
Elaboration of the educational and experiential concepts. All the project participants convened for a seminar on concept mapping to draw up a common foundation for research activities going forward. The project’s main hypothesis is that by tradition, museums are created and designed at the interface of the perception of museum services as being both a ‘means’ and ‘end’ in public educational outreach and visitor experiences, respectively. But what do the two concepts of educational and experiential entail, and how have they been interpreted and implemented in the past, and now, in the present?
International conference in May 2017 ‘Our Museum’ has timetabled a series of seminars and workshops for the coming years. The first major public event will be an international conference on 17 May 2017 held in Copenhagen at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. At this event, Danish and international researchers and museum practitioners will be discussing the project’s focal questions and themes.
Museum employees, researchers, politicians and others with an interest in museum mediation, digital engagement and user involvement are invited to follow the project’s progress, findings and outputs at www.voresmuseum.dk and @voresmuseum on Facebook and Twitter.