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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Taking the Museum to the Streets


In a digitalised and globalised world, what are the challenges the museum faces when users increasingly experience knowledge as something created through blogs, wikis and other social platforms? In which the museum collections no longer hold the absolute truth, but rather layers of collected knowledge to be interpreted and augmented through interpretation and adaptation by guests and other voices? This workshop will look at some of the practical, epistemological and technical approaches to the challenges based on specific case material.

In April 2010 the Museum of Copenhagen, in cooperation with Gibson Group Ltd and Spild af Tid/Waste of Time, launched a giant multi-touch multimedia installation in one of the central squares in Copenhagen. In the first half year of its 14 hour a day functioning, The WALL, as it is called, has attracted more than 400,000 users, who have viewed more than 2,000,000 images, sent more than 60,000 personal postcards, and maybe most importantly, uploaded 2,500 new contributions of their own. Semi-mobile, The WALL will be moved around Copenhagen over the coming four years. It gives Copenhageners street access to a poetic cityscape of images and knowledge about their city, and offers a platform for all citizens and guests of the city to interact with and discuss the past, present and future of the city. In parallel to the multi-touch installation experienced in the streets, a website connects The WALL, its multimedia database and the museum. Both the website and The WALL support the museum's new profile of having the city as its prime object and being fully embedded in the city.

See a 5 minute documentary on the project:

The workshop will allow participants to get inside the project and discuss the challenges and lessons of this pioneering work, while exploring hands-on the unique user interface on a cut-down version of The WALL – including a year’s worth of user contributions.

In this way the workshop will investigate:

  • practical and technical challenges concerning the development of a mobile, multi-touch, user-involving installation, outdoors in the city space
  • hands-on use of the “2D/3D cityscape editor” software that creates the cultural topographies of The WALL
  • the conceptual and epistemological considerations and choices underlying these topographies
  • achievements and lessons from the first year of operation – how do reception, use and interaction correspond with the original intentions we had in the development phase, what are the differences and how can they be explained? Are there things we would have done differently?
  • Does the Wall create a new agenda for future museum practices and for the relationship between cities, citizens and their museums?

Participants are invited to present examples of their own experiences with multi-user and user-generated content installations, and to reflect on their experiences with operating these in a non-regulated milieu.


Mini-Workshop - teaches something or explores approaches

Authors's picture
Jette Sandahl is Director of the Museum of Copenhagen and here initiated the WALL projected to be presented at MW 2011. She has an academic background in Psychology, but has worked in the museum sector since starting the Women's Museum in Denmark. She was Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs...
Jakob Ingemann Parby's picture
MA in Ethnology and History from the University of Copenhagen. Currently working with migration and urban history in the context of Copenhagen. Other interests: history of planning and infrastructure, museology, exhibition practices and media. During the last couple of years involved in...
Allangibson's picture
My passion is coupling web to interactive exhibitions. I have an academic background in literature and film critical theory, and as a member of the University of Grenoble's Centre de Recherche sur l'Imaginaire at Chambéry. Extensive experience in the R&D and management of multi-user interactive...
Jakob's picture
Spild af Tid (Waste of Time) have worked with and specialized in animations, illustrations and design for film, TV, print and New Media for more than 10 years.
Lotte's picture
Spild af Tid have worked with and specialized in animations, illustrations and design for film, TV, print and New Media for more than 10 years.

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