Preserving the past – Using Digital Tools in Museums

I have always been one that loves museums- all that knowledge just waiting to be absorbed, all the history to take in. I was always that student in high school that didn’t sigh when we were told of an upcoming field trip to the city where we’d be visiting the Melbourne Museum or the National Gallery of Victoria.  I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a day off to learn more about our culture and the culture of others? As I have found out through most things, some individuals are just not as engaged by museums and historical sites as others are.

I think further back to primary school and our excursion to Canberra. It’s like that one major school camp that every school does and almost every kid looks forward to. I remember visiting the Australian War Memorial and recall just how many hours we spent walking around, trying to process all that history. At times it was difficult to comprehend such in-depth tales of war as eleven and twelve year olds. When an exhibition contains a lot of text to read through, it can be difficult to process. However, looking at other places we visited like Questacon (although not technically a museum), it becomes apparent that interactive and hands-on approaches to learning create a higher level of engagement with visitors.

Museums have always been there as a source of education and an opportunity to learn more about times gone by. As the years do continue to go by, the history of some museums need to be further preserved using digital tools to ensure that memories are not lost forever. First-hand knowledge, particularly from survivors of such tragic events as the Holocaust is fading, as survivors slowly leave us. The introduction of The StoryPod at the Jewish Holocaust Centre is just one example of how curators are working to preserve invaluable accounts of history. It further adds a level of engagement for those visiting the museum, so that they can feel they are connecting with that piece of history on a personal level.

Through protecting heritage in this manner, our generation will be ensuring that those who come after us will still be able to learn of events such as the Holocaust.

I also found the virtual reconstruction of Anne Frank’s house quite fascinating. Check it out if you haven’t already 🙂

– C