The Future of Media determines the Future of Museum. (Some remarks in the current situation of the Post-NMC era)

Harald Kraemer, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R.

Published paper: The Future of Media determines the Future of Museum. (Some remarks in the current situation of the Post-NMC era)

Since the 1990s, multimedia technology has had a growing impact on communication and education in museums. Museums have spent enormous effort in the production of multimedia applications for kiosk systems, audio guides, portables, silver discs, websites, apps, etc. Nowadays museums are open to any kind of media that the new communication technology has forced them to comply with. But with the growing loss of the first three generations of digital cultural heritage, we are becoming aware that museums are in a growing spiral of dependence on communication technologies. Given this relationship of dependence and the so-called throwawayism, the role of the New Media Consortium is considered. Different examples outline the scope of the problems and show why digital preservation and the magic word of the emulation can only partially help. The second part of the article deals with the reasons for the lack of quality of many multimedia products today and the changed behavior of the new participatory visitors. Using Multimedia and Social Media-supported technologies, visitors have transformed from passive learning consumers to active clients who participate in co-authoring their visits. The Millennial generation in particular, with its narcissistic and event-driven behavior and its expectation of following the latest technology innovations, has led museums into a dependency with unforeseeable consequences. This essay contains aspects of the following question: How can we ensure that future generations will have access to the hypermedia applications created by museums, and that we will not lose these interactive masterpieces, as is happening right now with the first generations of multimedia classics and Flash-based websites? Last but not least, the inglorious end of the New Media Consortium (NMC) raises the question of what we can learn to avoid mistakes for the future.

I dedicate this text to my 'doctor father' Michael Bockemühl, who would have turned 75 this year. I would like to thank Norbert Kanter, Tobias Klein, the unkown MW-reviewer and especially Peter Samis for their feedback and suggestions on my erratic thoughts.

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