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News | A network for the museums of the Dolomites

MDU_Save the Date 081019 Research and Education
27 September 2019

The history, culture and landscape of the UNESCO Dolomites is displayed and described in museums of geology and ethnography, art and science: each of them part of a larger mosaic. Digital tools and strategies can help to make this wonderful heritage more real and approachable, both for residents and visitors, and for web users. This is the aim of Musei delle Dolomiti (Museums of the Dolomites), a new project by the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation.

The reasons for the project

The project is receiving funding from the neighbouring Municipalities (Fondo Comuni confinanti), andĀ falls within the broader planĀ “Development of the territory through the integrated management and communication activities of the UNESCO Dolomites W.H.S.” During the first year of the project, a series of meetings, interviews with museum representatives, workshops and round table discussions will take place, with the aim of developing an networked strategy for future years. The following important questions will be addressed: What practices can the museums adopt to promote, as a network, the rich heritage of the UNESCO Dolomites? How can they collaborate to popularise their assets through the web and on social networks? What role can local communities play in this collective narrative?

The project is taking up an idea initially proposed by the Ethnographic Museum of the Province of Belluno at the 2012 Expo Dolomiti di Longarone, during a conference entitled Towards a Network of Dolomites Museums. On that occasion, various museum networks based in the Dolomites region shared their different experiences. Today these same networks are coming together to address a common theme: new digital opportunities for interacting and involving the public.

Practical developments

The project was launched in February 2019 and the first event, a workshop involving museum operators, was held on June 7th. The second of a series of meetings will take place on Tuesday October 8th, and these will then continue until June 2020. The main theme of these events is the use of digital technology to help promote the assets of the museums beyond their physical boundaries and establish new networks and interaction between local players in the cultural field.

Indeed, the project is based on an awareness that the digital revolution has completely changed the way museums present their cultural offering and interact with the public, introducing both new opportunities and new challenges. Digital tools and strategies, plus new approaches, can help make our Dolomite heritage more real and inclusive for residents, visitors, and web users.

Three leading proponents of the project represent the three different types of landscape that are involved (inhabited landscape, geological landscape, and interpreted landscape). These organisations are the Ethnographic Museum of the Province of Belluno, the MUSE – Trento Science Museum, and Dolomiti Contemporanee, the visual arts lab. We can also add the virtual landscape museum DOLOM.IT, which will provide an example of a museum that includes the principles of online platforms (participation and co-creation) within its offering.

Common strategies

The development of digital curation and community involvement are the issues that the museum operators will be addressing on Tuesday, October 8th at the Ethnographic Museum of the Province of Belluno. In particular, the three different strands of the project will be examined in detail, to bring the various museums together around these common themes: the geological landscape, the inhabited landscape, and the interpreted landscape.

Many museums in the Dolomites will represent one of these areas, but each museum can make use of another’s collection to enrich their own narrative. This realisation is at the heart of the Museums of the Dolomites project, using the web and digital means to show what unites even the most disparate museums, and to explore the power and beauty of the story behind a unique shared heritage: our UNESCO Dolomites.

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