Title:A Museum Is a Museum Is a Museum…or Is It? A Discussion of Museology on the Web
Authors:Lynne Teather
Publication:MW98: Museums and the Web 1998

The speaker will present an overview of research about the human-computer interface or user-centred research for the web from a museologist's point of view. Then she will discuss the state of the art of museology and its implications for museums on the web. There are those who would argue that the museum experience can in no way be transferred to the web? Essentially, this question refers back to the essential question of what is a museum, and what is the museum experience. Current research about the museum and the museum experience takes us into a museum paradigm based in the user-created experience of museums and even into the very essence of making museum that could adopt to the web in ways that support, and extend, the museum idea? More than the object fetishism, more than information and data transfer, and certainly more than public relations and sales opportunities, the museum experience is about meaning and knowledge building. What, then, is the essence of the museum experience that we wish to transfer to the web and what can we effectively create in web technology given current developments? Work in the last decade in Scandinavia in participatory design for information technology offers some important opportunities that parallel much of the thinking of the new museology or what I like to call participatory museology. Similarly work in computer-supported collaborative learning (cscl) and collaborative work (cscw) offer some important conceptual shifts extending our picture of the user experience beyond the solitary viewer or web user to address more social forms of involvement in the museum experience. Perhaps, as important, work in the visitor experience of museums may also have relevance for the field of human-computer interface research.