Museums may suffer bout of ‘Disneyfication’

The museum sector could suffer from “Disneyfication” through inappropriate use of technology, say museum and design industry experts responding to last week’s AW Franks Memorial Lecture by Sir Nicholas Goodison.

Goodison, chairman of the National Arts Collection Fund, criticised the interactive exhibits in modern museums, saying: “It is not the role of the museum to ape Madame Tussaud’s or Disneyland.”

He also called for institutions to become more business-like, and for the Government to set minimum levels for funding.

Museums Association director Mark Taylor backs Goodison’s call. “If museums in this country try to compete with Disney they will lose. Disney is better at it.” But he agrees appropriate technology can enhance the experience of museum visiting.

MET Studio marketing manager Amanda Wright sees Goodison’s arguments against the use of interactive exhibits as “an oversimplification”, as many exhibitions are not based around “pure” objects. “Technology is not a panacea. It has to be appropriate,” she says. “Fitness for purpose is the key.”

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