Title:A Conceptual Framework for Analysing Social Systems Surrounding Korean National Museums in the Digital Age
Authors:Juhee Park
Publication:MWA2014: Museums and the Web Asia 2014

Changes in museum practice and the ways in which people can experience museums in the digital age have increasingly become key topics in discussions about both museum practice and museum theory. Although employing digital technology in museums is a recent phenomenon, museums, as social institutions, have always been strongly influenced by socio-economic, cultural and technological changes. In the case of South Korea, in particular, digital culture plays an important role since S. Korea is a technologically advanced country, especially with regards to the development of innovative digital devices and the degree to which digital technologies have been embedded in daily life. In the museum context, digital technology has had a profound influence on the ways in which S. Korean museums manage their collections, develop their websites and adopt innovative media for eye-catching exhibition tools. Yet, the same does not appear to be true for interpretation, learning and, in general, the way in which museums interact with their visitors, particularly in view of the discussion related to the ‘new museology’.

The aim of this research is to investigate the degree to which S. Korean museums and related social systems have changed and interconnected with each stakeholder in the digital age. This paper will present a conceptual framework based on activity theory (Nardi, 1996), which could be used in order to link and explain the relationship between structure and agency in the museums. Moreover, it will address the potential stakeholders who influence decision-making in museums, including government bodies, museum professional bodies, academic departments, museum practitioners and the public.