Research reveals museums becoming clearer on digital

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27th November 2017 15:53 - Museums, Libraries and Archives

Research reveals museums, galleries and cultural institutions are generally becoming clearer on digital: The most recent wave of the Digital Culture survey, conducted by Nesta and Arts Council England and published in September 2017, suggests a number of key trends.

First, organisations in the cultural sector are doing fewer digital activities, but are clearer and more confident about the types of digital engagement which work best for them. On the face of it, the decline from 9.2 to 7.8 digital activities being undertaken on average between 2013 and 2017 seems a cause for concern (there are 24 activity areas which are tracked). However, looking at museums specifically, more than two thirds (61%) have now digitised at least half of their collection, and more than a fifth run digital exhibitions according to the survey of 211 institutions. The general trend across the sector as a whole suggests a that organisations are utilising smaller numbers of digital channels but in more effective ways.

Museums are also more likely than other art forms to provide educational content or online events, provide interactive educational experiences or to include digital experiences alongside tours or artwork.

Museums have particularly improved their mobile engagement. From fewer than a third (29%) having a mobile enabled web-presence in 2013, the figure now sits at 64% - although this is still slightly behind the wider arts and cultural sector (69%). Significantly fewer museums also tend to use Twitter (74% vs. 85% for the wider arts and cultural sector), YouTube (36% vs. 50%) and Instagram (35% vs. 48%).

Finally, a significantly lower proportion of museums utilises visitor contact details to send out newsletters (66% vs. 74%), and there has been a decline in the number of museums utilising data to inform their broader strategic direction (43% in 2017, down from 47% in 2013).

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