Museums, Mobile Devices, and Steve Jobs

While I found Nancy Proctor’s presentation useful as an overview of the state of mobile devices in museums, I don’t think it provided a useful framework to ensure the future viability of museums in America or how to adapt technology. While museums may have once been on the cutting edge of American culture and were created by innovative individuals, I think museums no longer attract the most creative segment of the population. Unlike when museums were created to showcase hip new content such as natural history, museums now seem to be perpetually lagging behind popular science and culture. One area where museums might become hip to cutting edge content is technology–both showcasing and utilizing it. We need some like Steve Jobs, Larry Page, or Sergey Brin–people who seem to a feel not only for what people want now, but what they will want a year or two from now. An innovative to both utilize and showcase technology would be to use robots and ai. Robots are likely not only useful to the military (which currently utilizes more than 20,000) or to assisted living facilities or nursing homes (for which they are currently being developed), but could be a innovative way to reach potential museum patrons. I would pay money to have a robot give me a tour of the Idaho Historical Museum.

Utilizing mobile devices for public history and education should not even be questioned anymore. They have become such an integral part of our lives that to not utilize them would make museums even more irrelevant than they already are. Another drawback unfortunately is that technology might actually usher in the death of museums as collections are increasingly available online. Robots could also make curators and docents an extinct profession (along with soldiers and caretakers). I’m not sure what the answer is, but ludditism probably is not it.

BIN LADEN IS DEAD–You heard it here first!!!

One thought on “Museums, Mobile Devices, and Steve Jobs”

  1. I agree that museums need to start thinking forward and have someone take on the role of a Steve Jobs. Its important to cultivate the skills to know what will be popular months in advance. As far as your robots comments…I would rather take a baseball bat to a robot than let it guide me through a museum.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *