What is the public value of an online collection? Why should museums and archives invite digital artists to deconstruct and rebuild their online collections experience?
This paper argues that the traditional online collection- a database of object records- is fundamentally designed for research audiences, and presents very few opportunities for serendipitously engaging the casual browser. It will propose that in order to reach new audiences online, museums and archives should be less concerned with technical innovation and more interested in enabling and publishing creative reuse of collections; they should promote their collection as a resource bank to creative practitioners who design compelling digital experiences; and that designing digital heritage experiences to inspire curiosity and wonder is more important than facilitating learning.
This paper will refer to the innovative Half Memory project as a case study. The project, developed by TWAM with Tusk Music and Pixel Palace, invited musicians, sound artists and film makers to use TWAM’s collections as a resource for creating engaging (digital) heritage outputs; outputs that recontextualised historical material in order to inspire new audiences.