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Friday, 18 May 2012

Real Objects versus Digital Information

OK, I have posted something similar in the past but have been giving more thought to this after attending the 'Geeks Night' at the Petrie Museum on the 3rd May. Additionally, Egypt Centre is planning a project with our Computer Department which will involve the Egypt Centre objects as well as digitisation. We want to make best use of both. As a museum curator I tend toward believing that things are superior to reproductions of them (I would wouldn't I). I personally feel that you get something extra from the 'real thing' and therefore right from its beginnings Egypt Centre has encouraged handling of real objects (picture left). I read this really interesting PhD thesis which can be downloaded from here : http://kentstate.academia.edu/KierstenFLatham/Papers/105266/Numinous_Experiences_with_Museum_Objects

Of course, digital information would be useful in providing information on an object which is difficult to provide either from encountering the object itself or through other media e.g. books or verbally. Not everyone is able to visit a museum to see the real thing and perhaps we can use the digital to encourage people to see the real things.

No conclusions here, just meandering thoughts. Anyone have ideas?

1 comment:

  1. Based on my experiences with students, the real thing certainly gets them excited and inspired. Just note how many end up interested in writing object-based dissertations. But, the digital world can open up the inaccessible. Many objects can't or shouldn't be handled anymore. I have also enjoyed and learnt much from being able to digitally view objects in collections I cannot get to.

    One thing I would like to experiment with, is recontextualising the "unreal" things. Thus, we can recreate one, and simulate its possible original environment, say, a home, and see where, how it would have been kept/used, etc...

    Wish I could have been there for Geeks Night!