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Democratising the Museum

Reflections on Participatory Technologies

Edited By Pille Runnel and Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt

Democratising the museum is a collection of articles reflecting upon the problem of how participation, technologically mediated or not, can support the museum in the process of becoming more accessible. The open museum shares power with its visitors while negotiating professionalism and the role of the museum in a modern society. The book looks at the roles and struggles of audiences/visitors and professionals and the role of digital technologies in supporting the participatory museum. While different chapters draw on a variety of empirical examples, the main analytical backbone of the book comes from an extended participatory action research study conducted at the Estonian National Museum. This book aims at both academics and professionals working in the museum field.
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Analysis of Participatory Activities in the Museums in Latvia

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Analysis of Participatory Activities in the Museums of Latvia

Linda Lotina

1. Introduction

Today’s museums are competing for the attention of the visitor with other sources of entertainment, learning and dialogue. The development of alternatives increases the need to pay attention to the role of visitors and their needs in these authoritative cultural institutions. Time has changed the relationship between museums and audience from a situation in which the public had little say in museum affairs to one in which the sense of the public is an overriding factor (Combe McLean, 1994, quoted in Bandelli et al., 2009). The transformation of visitors’ roles increases the importance of their opinion and decreases the gap between the authoritative museum and its visitors. This shift opens a debate about visitors as participants in cultural institutions. The concept of participation initially emerged from the political sphere but the transformation of society has raised the need to include other fields, for example culture, in the participation debate.

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