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published: March 2004
analytic scripts updated:
November 7, 2010

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License

Think Different: Combining Online Exhibitions And Offline Components To Gain New Understandings Of Museum Permanent Collections
Michael Freedman, Plumb Design, Inc., USA
http:// www.plumbdesign.com

Session: Practice Makes Perfect

The Web's use in general promotion, showcasing permanent and temporary exhibits, and providing access to catalogs of material is well documented. Less obvious is the power of the Web to show permanent exhibits in a new light. The development of provocative online exhibits can create compelling narratives by juxtaposing objects from the permanent collection that are not usually seen together. Curators and Web developers can work together to recontextualize objects and help audiences see them and experience them differently. In addition, multiple stories can be told within the online exhibit built from the permanent collection, leveraging existing material housed as digital assets. This approach not only creates new learning opportunities for visitors, but also represents a way to recoup prior investment in digital assets management and to create new exhibits in a time of downsized budgets. In this paper, we will first describe theoretical underpinnings for creating combined online/offline exhibits based on the permanent collection, and then provide high-level practical guidance for implementing such an application. Throughout the paper, we will provide case examples of completed projects and works in progress for nationally known museums.