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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.

State-of-the-Art: German Museums on the Social Web – Benefits and Effects of Social Media for Museum Education and Learning


This demonstration will focus on the questions “What kind of Social Media and Social Software have already been used for Museum Education Services on-line?” and “How do German Museums use the Social Web to enhance their Museum Education Services?”

In Europe museums are places of education and learning (e.g. DEUTSCHER MUSEUMSBUND (Ed.), 2009). Participation, visitor engagement, self-organized and collaborative learning represent keywords mentioned in relation to museum education. Social Media include specific characteristics that can help to guarantee different kinds of participatory learning opportunities to make museum learning self-organized, engaging and community-friendly.

On-line learning is still an exception in the German Museum World, and therefore the gap between the presentation of general information like address and phone number and an educational service using Social Media to engage audiences is still large (INSTITUT FÜR MUSEUMSFORSCHUNG (Ed.), 2008, WWW, 55).[1] The Internet is basically used for public relations (PÖRSCHMANN, 2003, WWW, 1) and Social Media are mostly utilized for marketing reasons, i.e. posting general information concerning events and other press releases to advertise activities of the real museum’s site.

German examples for Museum Education Services on the Internet and the use of Social Media will show the state-of-the-art of on-line education and learning within the German museum field. The Weimarpedia project wiki and the Fundgeschichten blog of the LWL-Museum for Archeology Herne will demonstrate how Social Media is used for blended learning projects to:

  • guarantee public access to cultural heritage
  • offer participatory opportunities to contextualized artworks
  • communicate and activate dialogues
  • enable user-generated-content

Reference list

  1. DEUTSCHER MUSEUMSBUND (Ed.) (2009). Museumskunde - Museen in der Informationsgesellschaft, Bd. 73 2/08, Berlin: G+H Verlag.
  2. INSTITUT FÜR MUSEUMSFORSCHUNG (Ed.). (2008). Statistische Gesamterhebung an den Museen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland für das Jahr 2007, 62, Berlin.
  3. PÖRSCHMANN, D. (2003). Von Piranesi bis Picasso. Die Kunstausstellung im Internet als Instrument der Vermittlung. In electronic conference proceedings „museums and the internet“. Accessed on 24th September 2011 at Internet URL


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biancabocatius's picture
I studied art history, education science and information science at the Heinrich-Heine-Universitaet Duesseldorf in Germany. I started writing my PhD thesis in 2010 about museum education with social media. As I already worked in the museum educational field and felt that something needed to change...