Emotions, impressions and motives for museums re-opening

Emotions, engagement and participation are more and more central and strategic issues for museums in the 21st century. Both observations and scientific insights agree that emotions are a strong driving factor of visitors’ active attendance and learning in museum contexts.

This is confirmed also by the success of the MuseiEmotivi initiative, active since several years in the Italian Cultural heritage scenario, and the popularity of its #museiemotivi hashtag. Museum visitors look at emotions as triggers of their curiosity and interest for more in-depth knowledge. Museum professionals, in their turn, look at emotions as the focus of innovative research between different disciplinary sectors.

Siena, Museum of Natural History, Academy of Physiocritici, 3rd edition MuseiEmotivi, 30th March – 1rst April 2017

Why MuseiEmotivi

MuseiEmotivi is a workshop series for museum professionals from museums and cultural heritage institutions, organized by NEMECH New Media for Cultural Heritage, a Competence Center participated by University of Florence and Tuscany Region, since 2016. The workshops include training sessions with talks by recognized scientists and experts from different disciplines, addressing  the relationships between emotions and new technologies. They are taken inside museum physical locations that provide facilities and opportunity of interactive lab sessions with proofs of concepts. A community of international experts and over 200 professionals has been formed over the years that shares ideas, best practices and challenges of contemporary museums, looking at museums as user-centered dynamic spaces where both digital and physical media should harmonize each other to improve knowledge transfer and audience engagement and remove any accessibility constraints.

MuseiEmotivi, the interdisciplinary 4W Method

MuseiEmotivi and post Covid-19 motives: listening

Following the forced increase of digital solutions in museums due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the MuseiEmotivi Scientific Committee has started an investigation about experiences and new opportunities for “more digital” museums in the post-pandemic era. The experiences and opinions of some of the members of the MuseiEmotivi community were collected in a new report MuseiEmotivi e motivi post Covid-19.

The report evidences that the focus of the MuseiEmotivi initiative is today topical more than ever. Being forcedly closed to the public, museums have been forced to exploit digital technology to keep in contact with the visitors. This has given the opportunity to put into evidence both strengths and weaknesses of the digital from multiple perspectives. Several points were raised. Clearly, museums had to define their digital strategy, and therefore rethink of how keeping in touch with the audience and creating a museum community.

Digital tools were recognized as a non-innocent tool. They were acknowledged as an effective solution to improve interactivity and put museums in a more direct relationship with people. Digital solutions have been regarded as a powerful tool to stimulate emotional involvement and improve knowledge. Not just to generate emotions – where Computer Graphics special effects, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Multimodal experiences are notorious key tools for amplification – but particularly to connect the emotional moment to the cognitive one, ultimately to allow a more conscious and deep experience.

Integration of museum staff with new IT professionals in charge of the museum digital identity was understood as an urgent need, in order to go beyond the updating of the traditional website, adding new services for a continuous and active dialog with the public.

The lockdown made more evident well-known problems and defects and urged effective solutions. Among them, the need of giving higher attention to the local community, to interpret as rediscovering and highlighting the geographical identity and the links of the museum to the local community, while maintaining the original scope and scale.

Lockdown also put both large and small museums in the same conditions. Doors were closed. As the doors reopened, both have forcedly acknowledged the new rules for visitors’ behavior that transformed the museum space. In the museum, visitors now must take care of the behavior of the others much more than in the past, keeping the appropriate distances in a sort of dynamic triangle between them, the artwork and the others. Therefore, the pandemic also started new thoughts on behavior, location and movements of the visitors and space design.

Florence, Marino Marini Museum, 5th edition MuseiEmotivi, 6th-9th March 2019

Re-think and share good practices

Following the MuseiEmotivi e motivi post Covid-19 report, MuseiEmotivi organized a Study Day“MuseiEmotivi e motivi post_Covid-19”: Listening, rethinking and sharing good practices in museums at Le Murate Museum Art District, in Florence on 10th September 2020. The meeting was attended by about 30 museum experts either physically present or Zoom-connected and a large audience over the network. We discussed both the experiences in the report and shared opinions on the role of digital in museums in the post-Covid.

Massimo Negri took the opportunity to present the new research program Museums and the web at the times of the Corona Virus. Lasting museological innovations come about during the years of crisis, promoted by Master Erasmus Mundus in Techniques, Heritage, Industrial Landscapes University of Padova and EMA European Museum Academy Foundation, that collects reports of museum initiatives and actions during the pandemic, worldwide. MuseiEmotivi has been a key partner in this research to collect and include contributions of Italian cultural institutions.

Study Day “MuseiEmotivi e motivi post_Covid-19”: Listening, rethinking and sharing good practices in museums, Florence 10th September 2020

Alberto Del Bimbo

Full Professor at the Department of Information Engineering at the University of Florence. His research interests focus on Multimedia, Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence. He is author of over 350 papers published in the main international journals and conference proceedings, and leads a research team addressing, among the others, Multimedia for Cultural Heritage. He is the founder and Director of NEMECH – the New Media for Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Florence. He has been the General Chair of some of the most important conferences in the field.

Lorenzo Greppi

Lorenzo Greppi

Architect, specialized in the integrated design of multimedia installations for exhibitions and museums. He worked, among the others, for the Natural History Museum of Venice, the Museum of the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, the MUSE of Trento, the Egyptian Museum, the National Cinema Museum and the Royal Museums of Turin, the Musée Olympique of Lausanne. He is currently working at the Musée de la Résistance Nationale in Paris, the Musée Suisse du Jeu, the Museum of the History of the City in Catania and the Museum of Literature in Trieste.

Paolo Mazzanti

Paolo Mazzanti

He has an interdisciplinary University education: graduated in Theoretic Philosophy, post-graduated in Multimedia Content Design and in Planning and Communication of Cultural Heritage. He is presently researcher at MICC-NEMECH Management Training Programs, and Scientific Co-ordinator of MuseiEmotivi. His research interests focus on emotions and informal learning in museums, user-experience and interaction design, new media and digital tools for user engagement, information technology and creative practices.

Claudio Rosati

Claudio Rosati

Historian and Museologist, creator of museums and essayist. He is a founding member of the Italian Society for Museography and Demo-Ethno-Anthropological Heritage. Among the most recent publications: Amico Museo. Per una museologia dell’accoglienza (Edifir, Firenze, 2016). He directed the Museums and Ecomuseums sector of the Tuscany Region.