How Digitized Art May Invite or Inhibit Online Visitor Participation (and Why It Matters for Art Museums)

The aim of this article is to examine diversity dimensions of participation and its role in visitors’ encounters with digitized artworks online. Though often employed in discourse on museum digitization, the notion of participation remains resistant to clear-cut definition, as it is diversified in both theoretical content and practical usage. Through phenomenological analysis of online museum visitors’ reflections on accessing digitized artworks on Norwegian web museum portal DigitaltMuseum and online 3D design community Thingiverse, the diverse participatory potential of photographic, 3D rendered and 3D printed surrogate objects and the platforms on which they appear, is explored. The analysis comprises co-examination of perspectives of participation and mediated materiality, and contributes to the development of a relational understanding of participation, where the encounter between museum object and visitor is vital. As the focus group study is conducted as a Socratic Dialogue—a form of in-depth, at-length philosophical conversation not yet widely employed in empirical research within the humanities—the study also contributes to exploring the use of this method in a qualitative research context.

Crow 360: Including Rural Schools in the Museum Experience

This article explores a program designed by educators at the Crow Collection of Asian Art, an art museum in Dallas, Texas. The outreach program uses 360-degree technology to bring a virtual museum experience into rural classrooms located more than an hour drive from the museum, a distance that in many cases precludes a school field trip. First, the article details why the educators chose to pilot this outreach program for middle schoolers. Next, it takes the readers through the pedagogical and technological program design, including adjustments made to the plan when the technology did not work as anticipated. Then, the article tells the story of how the pilot program was implemented. Finally, it provides those interested in piloting similar programs with tips based on lessons learned throughout the process.

Struggling and Advocating for Visitor Inclusion: The Case of the National Museum of Colombia

This work focuses on the different struggles to enhance visitor access that museum professionals deal with when developing museum projects. The discussion is based on the participation of the National Museum of Colombia’s Department of Education during a museum renovation process and the design of projects targeting visitors with different disabilities. The article analyses the diverse motivations of museum departments and disciplines, their contradictions, and the need for policies and methodologies to ensure that visitors are placed at the centre of educational and cultural projects. Moreover, it questions the role of communities as passive targets and proposes a shift in the design and leadership of inclusive activities. The inclusive Volunteers Program, the integration of devices for “non-segregated” enjoyment, and the development of educational services for people with disabilities provide a framework not only to describe good practices, but also to discuss the difficulties and challenges that museums face when seeking to guarantee an on-going process of inclusion.