"Progressive, practical and inspiring": this was MuseumDigit 2019

230 participants, 11 foreign and 12 Hungarian speakers, 14 exhibiting companies and organizations, as well as many exciting questions and topics: this is this year's MuseumDigit conference in numbers. The seventh international conference organized by the National Centre of Museological Methodology and Information (OMMIK) presented the exciting and changing world of 21st-century museums through exciting lectures and thought-provoking ideas.

Although there is no shortage of conferences, especially in November, MuseumDigit is not a conventional museum conference. In the Dome Hall of the Hungarian National Museum everything was dedicated to the museums (archives, libraries) of the future and challenges and opportunities of the digital age. This year the focus was on the relationship between artificial intelligence and museums, digital competence and inclusion.


Ildikó Sz. Fejes, Head of MNM OMMIK

for more pictures, please go to: http://museumdigit.hu/galeria/


Hajnal Kassai, Head of Museums Department at EMMI




Artificial intelligence, digital competence, data visualization

With digital technology now offering unprecedented perspectives, one of MuseumDigit's key topics was the relationship between artificial intelligence (AI) and museums, and developing the digital competence of museum staff. Bálint Gyires-Tóth, associate professor of the Budapest University of Technology, introduced the basic concepts and not only gave an example of the applications of artificial intelligence in the creative industry, but the introductory part of his presentation was written by the computer.

Lipót Répászky, head of the MTVA's NAVA Archive Department, initiated the work of processing, tagging, and providing metadata for the 13 million photo-negatives. This was entrusted to machine learning algorithms to catalog and make it searchable. And although the size of the archive does not allow all documents to be analyzed this way, it may not be necessary because, as Lipót said, "less can be more because it is more relevant".

Data specialist Angie Judge outlined the importance of Big Data, or visitor data, in the operation of the museum. Museums have a wealth of data and questions about how to make successful exhibitions. We need artificial intelligence, says Judge, to keep museums competitive.


230 visitors in the Great Hall

for more pictures, please go to: http://museumdigit.hu/galeria/

  Speakers of MuseumDigit 2019: Alexandre Matos, Marie-Clarté O’Neill, Jean-François Thull, Jerzy Gawronski és Ece Özdil  


However, the focus is not necessarily on new technology, but on getting to know what it offers and how it can benefit us. Jean-François Thull, Director of Castle Loches, spoke about the HistoPad app that was launched at the end of 2018, which allowed them to get to know their audience in detail.

Museologist Alexandre Matos, project manager at Mu.SA, explained how the digital skills that museum staff need to master in order to thrive in the digital space were discovered during the multi-year project, especially in Greece, Italy and Portugal.

Talking about digital competence, how do we stand in Hungary? Zoltán Loboda, senior policy analyst at the Center for Digital Pedagogical Methodology, wittily painted an otherwise unhappy picture of the digital competence of the Hungarian population. The goal is to become digitally self-sufficient, that is, to be able to use digital devices and services independently and to be able to learn independently with digital devices.

According to data visualization expert Mihály Minkó, the domestic GLAM sector still rarely takes advantage of data visualization, though the result is spectacular, exciting and of course useful in permanent and temporary exhibitions, in marketing and even in research. A good example of this is the page depicting Petőfi's literary contemporaries in the Petőfi Literary Museum, as well as the graphic exploring the relationships between the Nyugat literary journal and the major literary authors of the period. 

Talking about data visualization, we have good news to announce: OMMIK’s MuzeumStat museum statistics page is revamped. Ildikó Sz. Fejes, Head of Department at OMMIK, introduced the MuzeumStat design and development process and presented the benefits and services of the site to institutions, decision-makers, researchers and journalists. From now on, we can not only look at the operation of the institutions through data, but also make comparisons between institutions and areas, and receive information on the distribution of funding.

Éva Kómár, Head of OMMIK's Digitalisation and Content Development Group, introduced the creative use of digital content. There is a growing demand in the creative society for access to digital cultural heritage content. In addition to collecting and publishing, OMMIK’s MuseuMap aims to bring home an approach that leverages digital resources for education, tourism and recreation, and for everyone to use them in a creative way that suits their needs.

Underground Museum, 3D Spaces: Digital Best Practices

Jerzy Gawronski, a professor of archeology at the University of Amsterdam, took us underground to introduce the Below the Surface project. During the expansion of the city's metro line more than 700,000 finds from the former bed of the Amstel River were unearthed, out of which 9,500 are now on display at Rokin Metro Station. The life and history of Amsterdam is presented through tens of thousands of objects from AD 1200 to 2005. The showcase was arranged not by period, but by theme, and there were no labels- it would be difficult to read them anyway on the escalator, anyway. Also, they have created a spectacular website where you can put together your own mini exhibitions. Funnily enough, this is only trash - because the trash of old times is a treasure of the present day, professor Gawronski pointed out. We were digging in the garbage for taxpayers' money, he said jokingly. The basic concept of the project is to make archeology comprehensible and accessible to all. "The best thing about archeology is that when we find something, it raises new questions," he said.

Laurien de Gelder, curator of Allard Pierson in Amsterdam and Karolina Badzmierowska, heritage account manager at Noho, a creative development company  in Dublin, presented the CEMEC project, in which the Hungarian National Museum is a member. The Cross Culture Timeline (CCT), a collaboration between museums and cultural institutions from 10 European countries, is an early medieval virtual collection that brings to light the turbulent period of Europe in the period of the migration. The project not only exemplifies what can be used for digitized artwork (for holographic videos, animated film, interactive database), but also for making a far-flung era of good partnership and creativity for today's audience like the early Middle Ages.

The collection of the Kiskőrös Road Museum exemplifies how a small country museum can be a good place to learn about the challenges facing 21st-century museums, namely the importance of fast access to information beyond the exhibit, the fun, and the fact that the Z-generation cannot be ignored. needs.

Multispectral documentation expert Erik Joakim, Sales Director of Phase One introduced the technology which helps analyze, study and discover artifacts without risk of injury.


Jerzy Gawronski, Professor of Archeology at the University of Amsterdam

for more pictures, please go to: http://museumdigit.hu/galeria/

  Laurien de Gelder, junior curator at Allard Pierson in Amsterdam  


Inclusive Museum

One of the aims of OMMIK is to introduce the concept and practice of inclusive museums in Hungary. As a first step, the concept was explained by experts in the field who also outlined the complex issues that arise when translating inclusion into practice, and we could see how design thinking can help make the museum inclusive.

Thinking about accessibility has changed - whereas in the past it was only for people with physical disabilities, this circle is now open, said Maria Chiara Ciaccheri, an independent museum strategist, expert on equal access and inclusion. There is no such thing as an average museum visitor. Everybody has different needs, everyone has different needs, so other factors may hinder the museum experience - physical, intellectual, geographical, material, cultural, etc. obstacles have to be faced. However, inclusion is not a burden, but cool, says an expert who works with several Italian museums to develop their inclusive strategy. Inclusion promotes innovation, critical thinking, and improves the museum experience. Of course, it requires perseverance, and the usefulness of inclusion needs to be convinced to run the museum, but it is worth it.

Thinking about accessibility has changed - whereas in the past it meant mostly people with physical disabilities, this concept is now open, said Maria Chiara Ciaccheri, an independent museum strategist, an expert on equal access and inclusion. There is no such thing as an average museum visitor. Everybody has different needs, and different factors may hinder the museum experience, various physical, intellectual, geographical, material, cultural obstacles have to be faced. However, inclusion is not a burden, it’s cool, says the expert who works with several Italian museums to develop their inclusive strategy. Inclusion promotes innovation, critical thinking, and improves the museum experience. Of course, it requires perseverance needs to be persuaded by the museum's management the usefulness of inclusion, but it's worth the effort.

Ece Özdil, founder of Milan-based creative agency Jüniör, explores inclusion as a designer. One of the greatest challenges of inclusion is to find common ground between exhibitors' strategies and visitor sensitivity, interest for diversity to appear in institutions. Shee outlined the definitions of inclusion in different countries (reflecting on the discussion of the ICOM museum definition) and the four qualities we need to possess if we want to be inclusive: purposefulness, self-awareness (we know what we want and how our audience sees it), diplomacy and efficiency.

MuseumDigit speakers include a director of an ICOM committee every year. This year, Marie-Clarté O'Neill, the newly elected chair of CECA (Committee for Education and Cultural Action) and professor at the École du Louvre in Paris explored the relationship between digital technology and museum pedagogy. The essence of museum education is not only sharing the information about objects, but also where and how we display them. The CECA toolkit, which can be downloaded here, will help with this strategy.

Dr. Rita Farkas Gönczi is an associate lecturer at the Gusztáv Bárczi Faculty of Special Education at ELTE University and training manager at the National Centre for Disability and Social Policy. Rita clarified concepts that are similar in meaning, but mean very different things, she introduced different aspects of tokenism, assimilation or segregation, equal access, and introduced participants to the Principles of Easy-to-Understand Communication.

What makes MuseumDigit different from any other conference?

We had a giveaway with special prizes donated by the exhibiting companies. To bring visitors close to the creative and IT industry, they could get the right answers from the the exhibitors to fill out the quiz correctly.

We experimented with new program formats. We also came up this year with a new program format: this was our"Have Your Say"! Topical issues were discussed informally to learn more about what moves or troubles the Hungarian GLAM sector. The discussions focused on the relationship between climate change and museums, and maintaining the mental well-being and motivation of museum staff.

"The lectures of the foreign speakers were inspiring, forward-looking and gave a lot of practical tips. I think informal roundtables are a good idea," one of our visitors wrote. Thank you and we welcome any feedback. After all, this conference is about us, it's for us. See you there next year!




Muzeológiai Módszertani
és Információs Központ