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    It’s MuseumWeek: Explore How Cultural Institutions Are Diving into Innovation

    By: Sarah Roberts
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    MuseumWeek is an international event that brings together members of the cultural sector to address topics of the moment. As an essential partner to cultural institutions, Automatic Sync Technologies (AST) is excited to celebrate this year’s MuseumWeek theme of “culture, society and innovation.” We’re excited to celebrate the role that cultural institutions play in today’s increasingly globalized and digitized world. 

    This week, the organization will encourage museums to share how they use technology and what their thoughts are on its role in creating art, such as NFTs. Over the course of the week, the focus will include topics related to the democratization of art, the metaverse, virtual and augmented reality and digital inclusiveness.

    Here is a look into the week’s key topics. Museums can use each theme to share the exciting ways they’re using technology to be more connected, creative and inclusive.

    Seven days of innovation & culture

    MuseumWeek posts hashtags for each of the seven days and hosts lectures on related topics. This year the week kicks off with a day devoted to innovation, although each day imbeds that theme into its topic and focus as well. 

    Innovation and culture 

    MuseumWeek encourages members of the cultural sector to share their stories about innovative approaches they’re taking to promote access to culture online and in person. Importantly, efforts related to diversity, equity and inclusion are particularly relevant. Hashtags for day one include #technology, #ArtificialIintelligence, #metaverse and #diversity.

    Creators

    The second day celebrates the artists who are embracing new mediums and spaces. Museums will serve as the curators of virtual content and highlight current trends in art. One of the focuses is non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which are causing a stir in the world of art and culture. 

    Freedom

    Freedom is a timely subject that touches on current events and cultural debates. When it comes to freedom of expression, speech and information, cultural institutions can’t afford to stand on the sidelines. One of the hashtags is #MuseumsAreNotNeutral, highlighting the continuing importance of the cultural sector in these larger societal debates.

    4 people holding up their mobile phone to take a picture of a painting

    Sexuality

    MuseumWeek is looking at the role of cultural institutions on sexual expression. The online realm has increased access to sexual content. However, museums need to enter the discussion and ensure that the use of sexual themes isn’t limited to the pornography industry. Museums can promote important artistic expression and educational content that approaches the theme of sexuality in a way that differs from much of the available content online. 

    Environment

    The state of the planet is critical for humanity, and cultural institutions are getting involved in educating the public about these issues. MuseumWeek is urging museums to share their efforts to combat climate change through their digital content. 

    Life Lessons

    Social media is full of channels that share life lessons. For MuseumWeek, cultural institutions can share thoughts and quotes from great artists, scientists, thinkers and others throughout history. Moreover, those posts will invite important interaction with the public and create opportunities for audiences to share their thoughts. 

    Dance

    The final day of MuseumWeek focuses on dance as rebirth. For this theme, the organization is encouraging museums to host dance-related events in person and online.

    Woman and child looking at something in a museum while girl is holding up her mobile phone

    Partnering with AST for Accessible Cultural Experiences

    AST supports museums, libraries and other cultural institutions as they seek to build more inclusive experiences. Whether events and exhibits are in-person or online, AST can support accessibility efforts and help the cultural sector reach wider audiences with key technologies at their disposal.

    Here are some of the ways today’s cultural institutions can look to partner with AST to make their experiences more engaging and inclusive. 

    Captions 

    AST offers captions for recorded and live content. When museums post videos, captions make that content accessible for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. However, this solution is also helpful for many others, including individuals with neurodiversity. Now that more museums are embracing live online events, live captioning is another critical solution to offer audiences. Additionally, museums are beginning to embrace virtual spaces like the metaverse. As a result, they’ll need to consider ways to promote universal access in that realm. The best approach is to include multiple solutions, including captions, from the outset. 

    Transcripts

    Museums, libraries and galleries may have archives of audio content. AST can generate interactive transcripts of those files to preserve them and make them accessible. Also, AST’s searchable transcripts support researcher efforts and provide easy access for the public.

    Audio description

    Audio description is a vital solution for people who are blind or have low vision. For instance, when a museum uses visual video content, they can apply audio description so that a speaker describes the scenes. This solution provides context to those who can’t see the images. For instance, when museums post their dance-related content, it will likely be very visual. Audio description is a way for more members of the audience to enjoy those types of content. AST provides extended audio description, which allows the viewer to pause while the speaker offers more in-depth information. 

    Translation

    MuseumWeek brings together participants from more than 100 countries, highlighting the global reach of today’s cultural institutions. Fortunately, AST offers captions in multiple languages. Providing translations will further help members of the cultural sector connect with multicultural audiences.

    This MuseumWeek, as your organization celebrates culture and innovation, consider the opportunities you have to be more inclusive and accessible for your audience. Contact AST to learn more about how partnering with us can benefit your institution.