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Can museums survive in the information age?

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Can museums survive in the information age?

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Published by University of Leicester Press Office for University of Leicester in Local Government and also in Education

Debate to be held at the Science Museum, London, at 6pm on Wednesday, November 21.

Museum experts will debate how museums must adapt to survive in an age when a wealth of historical information, pictures and video is available online.

‘Museums in the information age: Evolution or extinction?’ will be a live, Question Time-styled debate held today (Wednesday, November 21) at the Science Museum, London.

The debate is organised by the University of Leicester, and will focus on the challenges facing museums and how they are responding to technological developments. The audience will also have the chance to put their questions to the panel.

The panel will include Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum, Carole Souter CBE, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Dr Ross Parry, Academic Director and Senior Lecturer at the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies.

Dr Parry said: “Museums have been engaging with the potential for digital media for several decades now. It is almost 50 years since people first thought about what a computer could do to the whole concept of catalogues.

“What we have seen over the last two generations of museum curation is that museums are learning to accommodate computers with their practice rather than there being a disconnect.

“A museum is a venue – a place – like a theatre or a church. The computer wants to be everywhere, but museums want to be somewhere. It is as if the two are the opposite of each other. But the two are evolving into convergence.

“The internet offers user-generated content, democratization of production and curation of museums and the potential for collective intelligence and poly-vocality. We can even go as far as to say the web represents much of what museums want to be.”

The event is hosted by Leicester Exchanges, the University’s online debate platform, and follows on from successful live events covering the future of public service broadcasting and the comprehensive school education model.

It will take place on Wednesday 21 November 2012 at the Science Museum, London SW7 2DD from 6pm. The event is fully booked

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