Museum visitors at a digital exhibition. Image: geralt/Pixabay

Swedish National Heritage Board says that digitalisation is the fate of museums

This article was originally published by the Swedish National Heritage Board in Swedish. EHT translated the article in English.

In a new report, the Swedish National Heritage Board proposes that the government should gather forces to encourage museums’ digitisation work. Large-scale investment is needed for museums to be given the conditions to develop their activities to modern, digital society requirements. The National Heritage Board is also ready to coordinate and lead such an initiative nationally.

The report “Corona Pandemic’s impact on the museum sector” is the result of an assignment from the government. The task included mapping how museums coped with the changes brought about by the pandemic. The report also describes how the authority can support the museums’ continuing work to adept.

Pandemic strain

The pandemic has put a significant strain on museums. The lack of revenue has had major consequences for a sector dependent on long-term and stable financing for managing and maintaining cultural heritage, precise needs for skills development, and human resources. The pandemic has also shown the crucial role museums play in developing a democratic, open and sustainable society.

However, the most pressing challenge concerns the museums’ digital transformation. The National Heritage Board also reported to the government that it is ready to step forward and take on a greater, more straightforward and more proactive responsibility, which concerns the digital transformation of museums.

Taking responsibility

The pandemic has clearly shown why digital transformation should take place quicker. To move forward, museums need both expertise and resources. But the work also requires precise coordination and someone that takes responsibility for leading and managing such a process at a national level. Here we see that the National Heritage Board should take that role, said Joakim Malmström, the Director-General of the National Heritage Board.

The report describes digitisation as crucial for everyone, regardless of background and geographical residence. There are excellent opportunities to continue creating value from a socio-economic perspective and enable everyone to take part in cultural heritage.

Next step

For individuals, the digitalisation of cultural heritage creates completely new opportunities for participation. Researchers and entrepreneurs can develop new knowledge, goods and services, and it is a matter of fate for museums. We must give museums the tools to build their digital capacity and to digitise the cultural heritage they manage. If this does not happen, we risk losing invaluable knowledge in society, said National Antiquarian Joakim Malmström.

To support museums in the next step of their digital transformation, the National Heritage Board set up a 10M Swedish krona research fund. The digitalisation of cultural heritage is one of two focus areas.

Source: Swedish National Heritage Board (Swedish) and Corona Pandemic’s impact on the museum sector (Swedish)

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