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Theorizing Digital Cultural HeritageA Critical Discourse$
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Fiona Cameron and Sarah Kenderdine

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780262033534

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262033534.001.0001

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The Materiality of Virtual Technologies: A New Approach to Thinking about the Impact of Multimedia in Museums

The Materiality of Virtual Technologies: A New Approach to Thinking about the Impact of Multimedia in Museums

Chapter:
(p.35) 2 The Materiality of Virtual Technologies: A New Approach to Thinking about the Impact of Multimedia in Museums
Source:
Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage
Author(s):

Andrea Witcomb

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262033534.003.0003

This chapter examines the display of objects alongside digital media in museum exhibitions through an analysis of interpretive approaches and forms of narrative construction. It argues that existing discussions about the impact of multimedia in museums are typically based on an opposition between the virtual and the material world, and thus interpret the virtual either as a threat or as a radical process of democratization. The chapter offers a different perspective on the materiality of virtual technologies by viewing digital media as material objects in their own right. In support of this materialist approach, it presents case studies from the Museum of Melbourne and its Bunjilaka Gallery in Victoria, Australia. Finally, the chapter considers how museums participate in the so-called “experiential” form of democracy.

Keywords:   Museum of Melbourne, Bunjilaka Gallery, exhibitions, digital media, multimedia, museums, materiality, material objects, democracy

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