Museums of the Dolomites online: discover the project #DolomitesMuseum

Geological, ethnographic, artistic and scientific museums and galleries, each like one tile in a larger mosaic of the history, culture and landscape of the UNESCO Dolomites. A rich heritage that digital tools and strategies can put us in touch with, bringing it to life and increasing participation of residents, visitors and Internet users. This is the aim of “Museums of the Dolomites”, the new project launched by the UNESCO Dolomites Foundation in 2019 and implemented over the following four years with many multiple activities.

Masks from the Ladinian Museum in the Dolomites

The reasons behind the project

These are the fundamental questions that the project aims to respond to, with the aim of developing a digital strategy for subsequent implementation: Which practices can museums in the Dolomites adopt to promote the rich heritage of the UNESCO Dolomites online? Which synergies can be established to share knowledge about their collections online and through social networks? What role can local communities play in this collective sharing of information and experiences?

The project is a response to the proposal made by the Ethnographic Museum of the Province of Belluno in 2012 during a conference which compared different experiences of museum networks in the areas of the Dolomites. Today, these networks are called to discuss a common theme: the new opportunities offered by digital platforms for dialogue and engagement with the public and share knowledge about the World Heritage Site in a coordinated way.

Action taken…

Feasibility study and participatory process: the project was launched in February 2019 and saw numerous workshops organised involving more than 30 museum operators. The common theme for these sessions was the use of digital tools to transmit the rich heritage of museums beyond their physical and geographical confines, establishing new networks and synergies between cultural actors across the area.

#DolomitesMuseum campaign: a collective account, composed of hundreds of stories published on social networks that has promoted and enriched the shared heritage of our mountains. The campaign, repeated over two years, involved more than 50 museums. Together with visitors to mountain huts, geologists, writers, producers, farmers, inhabitants and young and passionate businesses, they published memories, experiences and interpretations of Dolomites heritage, centred around 12 hashtags proposed on a weekly basis.

Story Workshop: after three years of work, collaboration of 50 museum operators and more than 2,000 items of digital content gathered and published online, the Museums of the Dolomites project led to the creation of shared digital space the “Story Workshop” on su, nel quale sono popolate 12 gallerie containing 12 themed galleries in English, German and Italian ranging from nature to geology, Dolomite culture, sport, fossils, living solutions for mountain settings, and the important role of women over the centuries. This is a cultural access point for discovery of local areas and promotion of the underlying elements of the Dolomites’ UNESCO World Heritage Status.

Discover the Story Workshop.

Interactive map game: the “Discovering the #DolomitesMuseum” map was distributed to 25 museums and visitor centres and contains 12 questions to test visitors’ knowledge of Dolomites heritage, discover the answers and further explore topics via the Story Workshop QR codes. This is a truly hybrid tool, referred to as “phygital”, which invites tourists and residents to visit the museums distributed across the area and promotes the many collections of the Dolomites both online and offline. Available in English, German and Italian, the map also features a space to add an “I’ve been there” sticker after each visit, to keep track of all the museums visited. Both the stickers and the interactive map game can be requested on entry to participating locations.

This activity is part of the project “Promotion of the region through integrated management and communication actions of the UNESCO Dolomites WHS”, established with the support of Fondo Comuni Confinanti.