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Museums for the Future

Museums & Society 2034: Trends and Potential Futures is a discussion paper written by Reach Advisors and commissioned by the Center for the Future of Museums. It provides a tantalizing look at some profound economic and demographic trends and how they might play out in society and, more specifically, in museums in 2034. The paper provides a useful, museum-specific context for frequently mentioned data points such as the aging and increasingly diverse nature of our population and the impact of increased travel costs. Beyond that, it begins to postulate alternative outlooks and roles for museums to consider as these trends come more clearly into focus. Among the more thought-provoking issues raised: how digital technology and remote access to collections might change the nature of museum “attendance” and how the role of the “expert” curator could shift to accommodate wikis and other collaborative approaches to information and idea processing. There is much food for thought here, although I came away with questions about how the social dimension of museums might be explored more deeply.

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