Museums and the Web

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A Family of Solutions for a Small Museum: The case of the Archaeological Museum in Milan

TitleA Family of Solutions for a Small Museum: The case of the Archaeological Museum in Milan
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsDi Blas, N., Caporusso D., & Franzosi P.
Secondary TitleMuseums and the Web 2007. Proceedings
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedToronto, Canada
EditorTrant, J., & Bearman D.
Keywordsdesign, low-cost multimedia, rapid development, storytelling, user experience

Large applications, lasting a long time and requiring a sizable budget, play important roles in cultural heritage institutions for functions such as cataloguing objects, and presenting the institutions. They are less suitable for promoting things like events or temporary exhibitions: the information loses validity and interest in a short time. Another issue is the ëcommunication focusí: large applications are like broadcast TV, speaking simultaneously to a lot of users (with different backgrounds, attitudes and interests), and therefore needing to be ëgenericí. Small applications can instead focus on specific targets.We came to the conclusion that small cultural institutions could use their (in general limited) budgets more effectively by developing small, focused, and well targeted applications, rather than large ëinstitutionalí applications. In addition, they should make good use of the technology, making sure that content (images, audio, text, etc.) can be easily moved from one channel (device) to another with minimum effort.This paper describes how the above principles have been applied to the Civic Archaeological Museum of Milan, a small but very important institution owned by the City of Milan, in Italy. An overall plan has been drafted and a number of needs have been identified; for each of the needs, a specific solution (and technological ëchannelí) has been identified. Though implementation of the plan is still underway, some low budget - good quality applications have already been developed. A very effective methodology (including a slender design methodology, a very precise workflow and some easy-to-use technological tools) makes the production process very quick and cost-effective. This paper describes the plan, the strategic choices and the initial set of developments.