Museum Object Lessons forthe Digital Age explores the nature of digital objects in museums,asking us to question our assumptions about the material, social and politicalfoundations of digital practices. Through four wide-ranging chapters, eachfocused on a single object - a box, pen, effigy and cloak - this short,accessible book explores the legacies of earlier museum practices ofcollection, older forms of media (from dioramas to photography), and theoriesof how knowledge is produced in museums on a wide range of digital projects. Swoopingfrom Ethnographic to Decorative Arts Collections, from the Google Art Project tobespoke digital experiments, Haidy Geismar explores the object lessonscontained in digital form and asks what they can tell us about both the pastand the future.
Drawing on the author's extensive experience working withcollections across the world, Geismar argues for an understanding of digitalmedia as material, rather than immaterial, and advocates for a more nuanced,ethnographic and historicised view of museum digitisation projects than thoseusually adopted in the celebratory accounts of new media in museums. Bylocating the digital as part of a longer history of material engagements,transformations and processes of translation, this book broadens ourunderstanding of the reality effects that digital technologies create, and ofhow digital media can be mobilised in different parts of the world to verydifferent effects.