The Digital Museum

Digital Museum workshops go West at American Museum

The world is now digital.  The way we communicate has changed irrevocably.  Your museum’s audience will expect to get a sense of your museum through your digital presence across multi-platforms. 

This is not as complicated as it sounds, it merely needs you to replicate what you do so well at your museum with digital tools, encouraging interactions and conversations as naturally as you see around you during the day to day.   It can’t merely be done by one centralised group of people, it has to be a organisation-wide effort, built up over time and by making many small steps together.

cart at american museum

We kicked off the latest round of Digital Museum workshops for the SW Museum Development programme at the beautiful American Museum in Bath – and got the perfect group for our approach of working together.

The programme is in its third year, with more than 35 museums across the South West now involved.

The aim of the workshops is to help museums come together to develop effective digital plans and, more importantly, take steps to becoming a digital museum – “replicating what they do at the museum using digital tools, encouraging interactions and conversations.”

We encourage museums to come together across the organisation – and it was exciting to see representation from the whole museum around the workshop table, including people from the gardens, catering, collections, marketing and the directors.

Becoming a digital museum involves the whole organisation buying into the idea of using digital, not as an add-on but as an integral part of how they fulfil their mission – taking what they already do well and making it more accessible, inclusive, and relevant to a wider audience.

The dynamic mix of delegates led to some lively and interesting discussions, with great ideas being thrown up by all the museum staff.

We encourage museums to embrace digital in small steps – even the littlest changes can make a big difference, particularly where they impact the organisation’s awareness of what is possible – and case studies of the impact of changes made by museums from earlier rounds of the programme helped show the delegates what is possible.

The workshop programme involves:

  • Assessment and advice on current digital engagement through a digital audit
  • Workshop/training support at the strategic, planning and implementation stages
  • Post-workshop feedback and support when writing a digital engagement action plan

We were delighted to get immediate feedback from the American Museum that confirmed how engaged they were with the project, and that they have the ambition to take their digital plan forward.

Collections Manager Kate Hebert told us: “The enthusiasm, number of ideas and overall buy in from all members present into becoming involved in our digital engagement was overwhelming and incredibly uplifting.

I have already had a couple of emails from enthusiastic individuals keen to get started.  I loved the content and was ridiculously inspired by the last session about Museum Makers. I went home with my head buzzing with ideas about how we could enhance volunteering opportunities at the museum.

I think that your workshop made us not only reconsider our digital presence but also gave us cause to re-examine some of the physical things we do too.”


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