My Museum and Me is an online exhibition presenting a selection of objects and stories from the collections of the Balkan Museum Network members, creating a learning virtual museum of the network as the foundation of a permanent, interactive, cross-border, online BMN exhibition space. The exhibition will integrate selected objects from museums’ collections and museological interpretation and visitors’ responses – explaining the meaning and value for them of a museum object, museum in general or their emotions about heritage. In this way, objects that come from across the Balkans will become a new collection/exhibition that is offers multiple perspectives on heritage with people at the center.
Cultural heritage is the result of complex processes of negotiation, conflict and cooperation, involving many actors, only one of which is curators. Therefore, this exhibition will give equal voice to professionals and visitors, allowing the museums involved to reach more people in personally meaningful ways. It will help to illustrate common ways of seeing heritage across the Balkans and provide an opportunity to develop new audiences not just around museums but from Balkans and worldwide.
Through this effort, the act of digitalization also becomes more than just a method of cataloguing; it is used as a tool for meaningful public engagement, offering a different means of developing heritage sensibility and heritage literacy by drawing emotional and experiential links between the physical and the virtual. This digital exhibition is not just a collection of electronic artefacts and information resources; nor is it a common storeroom or repository of digitized objects. A mere repository is not a museum experience. A museum experience comes from contextualizing the objects (with curators), adding meaning (with visitors) and linking them through a thematic narrative.
Involving the public will also transcend traditional methods of communication and interaction with visitors. The exhibition will be interactive – visitors to the virtual museum will be able to add comments, create their own exhibitions and share them, as well as vote for the best presentation. From the beginning of the project, principles of accessibility will be integrated into the design of the platform.
Goals of online exhibition:
- Showing common ways of seeing heritage, across the Balkans;
- Showing diversity of views and understandings included in the digital collection;
- Improving access (local and international) to museum collections in the Balkans;
- Increasing interaction/communication between museum staff and visitors;
- Capacity building in interpretation – creating Balkan interpretation (mediation) group;
- Diversifying museums’ programmes to include: e-learning and participatory learning environments, enhanced online presence and social media usage;
- Enable people to benefit from the museums’ potential at distance;
- Test co-production of exhibitions together with audience members;
- Increase active engagement of museum visitors in contributing their voices to museums;
- Supporting a visual archive of BMN activities.