Attractions Management Issue 2 2019

Page 40

TrendsWaTcH 2019

the trendswatch 2019 report from the american alliance of Museums (aaM) and the Center for the Future of Museums (CFM), explores important cultural,technological, economic, environmental, and policy events, identifying the major trends that will shape the way museums worldwide will handle affairs, do business and engage visitors




rust in government, media, academia, industry, and even nonprofit organisations are at an all-time low, according to the latest edition of TrendsWatch – an annual report on the future of museums. Compiled by CFM’s vice president of strategic foresight and founding director, Elizabeth Merritt, “Truth, Trust and Fake News” is one of five major trends identified in the eighth edition of the report. With declines in trust, it questions how nonprofits in general, and museums in particular, can remain among the most trusted sources of information, asking how museums, which are rated as extremely trustworthy by the general public, can build on this trust. It also asks how they can help society re-establish a framework for telling fact from fiction.

bloCKChaIn The way in which blockchain will transform multiple types of transactions is the second trend identified. Blockchain, in its simplest form, is a set records, linked using cryptography, to create a list of physical or digital transactions between two parties in a verifiable and permanent way. The technology has been around for more than a decade, but in the past year, there has been huge growth in its experimental applications, including refugee aid, educational credentialing, land registries and provenance tracking. Because blockchain has such widereaching potential for every sector, it means that museum leaders must understand what the technology is and how it’s likely to impact their communities. “Museums are all about keeping secure, immutable records of transactions about collections,” says the report. “In past centuries, these records were kept in paper ledgers and more recently on in-house databases. The distributed nature of

Blockchain can be used to maintain an accurate record as to the ownership of a museum artefact


blockchain ledgers could make this data less vulnerable to loss or degradation.” It also suggests that using blockchain means museums can be transparent about the history of their collections, enabling anyone to access data by use of a public key. This will help to support claims from indigenous communities, identify the lineage of Nazi-era assets and better help repatriation of artefacts.

dEColonIsatIon While many museums successfully address the dark side of history, one of the most profound challenges is to address colonisation, which for many older institutions, is the basis of their existence. “Decolonisation is the long, slow, painful, and imperfect process of undoing damage inflicted by colonial practices that remain deeply embedded in our culture, politics, and economies,” says the report. “Many museums reflect a Eurocentric view of the world. Many were born directly from colonial practices, serving as trophy rooms of conquest and superiority. “All museums share a responsibility for helping their country and their society address the legacy of damage.” To resolve this, museums can actively take part in the return of heritage removed by colonial occupiers – though AM 2 2019 ©Cybertrek 2019