Is there a downside to making more museums and cultural institutions more interactive? What is your view of the limitations of maker culture? Is there a risked loss of identity and value for libraries or other institutions?
There is a give and take relationship with most changes. When a museum or library continually adds new interactive content they inevitably give something up in that change. In adding interactive content the library gives up things such as space for books and quiet throughout the building, but I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing.
In her article, High Culture Goes Hands-On, Judith Dobrzynski writes that “Even in Europe’s old cities of culture, some people might stop in at the Louvre or the Uffizi, but often just to snap a few pictures on their cellphones to prove they were there” (Dobrzynski 2013). Modern life is fast paced and it seems that everyone is constantly on the move with little time to quietly reflect in front of a piece of art. While Dobrzynski writes about the good and bad aspects of museums shift towards interactive exhibits she only hints about why they are making these changes. She admits that they make these changes to draw in more visitors but doesn’t acknowledge that if the libraries and museums refuse to change they will still lose the idealized past versions of their institutions due to lack of use and funding.
Museums and libraries are very important institutions that provide priceless services to our communities, but before they can give the gifts of information they need to package it in a way to make it appealing to users in the current cultural climate. We cannot let our love of the book collections interfere with our ability to meet the needs of our patrons. If this means that we lose our identity as a house for books, great, as long as we keep our identity as a place for learning.
Dobrzynski, J. (2013). High culture goes hands-on. The New York Times [web post]. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/opinion/sunday/high-culture-goes-hands-on.html?_r=1