Digital Cultural Heritage in the Ethnographic Museum, Rethinking the digital object from the museum’s perspective
Gaalen, L.A. van
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Within the field of ethnographic museums, the concept of digitality as something worth collecting is still unusual. Digital objects do not belong in these museums, unless they are used as technological tools in either the exhibition or the process of collection management. Even though ethnographic museums claim to represent contemporary societies and cultures from all around the world, they still keep a blind eye to the one thing that connects us all: the digital. In this thesis, I discuss the different considerations towards adding digital cultural objects to the museum’s collections from the perspective of the museum itself. I thereby draw upon the data I collected during my ethnographic fieldwork among the associates of the research department of the National Museum of World Cultures in the Netherlands, also known as the Research Center for Material Culture. Therefore, the research findings presented in this thesis give a unique insight into different aspects of museum practices by showing the broad scope of experiences, ideas and opinions of museum professionals concerning digital cultural heritage in relation to these specific museums and their ethnographic collections.