Instead of quietly mouldering away in the 21st century, museums are innovating to become critical voices in the wider societal conversation. How? By engaging with the major issues of today through platforms that are borderless, revitalizing and inclusive. Here are five ways they’re putting their ideas into action.

01 CONNECT TO THE ELEMENTS

Institutions that are in synergy with nature are a powerful draw. With cultural flashpoints from Greta Thunberg to the Australian wildfires keeping the environment high on the agenda, it’s something that institutions need to start taking seriously.

02 THINK CROSS-CULTURALLY

The idea of ‘soft power’ has gained momentum in the 21st century, looking at the ways in which countries can forge bonds or compete through cultural projects. Museums have become key players in this world, with each new project encoding complex geopolitical relations.

03 PRIORITIZE INCLUSIVITY

There’s a delicate balance to strike between facilitating the artistic vision of an exhibition and ensuring that it’s accessible to as wide a range of the population as possible. Where there’s an irresolvable conflict between the creativity of a work and access to it, technology can be a powerful tool.

04 BRIDGE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Museum extensions have become opportunities to foster new connections and interactions. Think open access and fluid connections – both between the institution’s own buildings and with the neighbourhood beyond it.

05 PHYGITIZE THE EXPERIENCE

Instead of seeing the digital and physical as competing mediums that somehow exist in opposition to each another, the modern institution can be a powerful example of the phygital melting pot in action.

To read our full report on the Modern Museum, grab a copy of Frame 133.


[AR]T Walks, a collaboration between
Apple and New York’s New Museum, saw major names such as Nick Cave create off-site, city-specific digital AR works. Photo: Courtesy of Nick Cave and Apple