"Next-Museum: stimulating digitization at small and medium-sized museums through the enhancement of the Digital Curator”

Next-Museum is a KA2 project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, involving 4 programme countries (Italy, Greece, Croatia, Spain) with the aim to encourage and support the digitalisation of cultural heritage, in the area of museum management and in application to small and medium-sized museums through tailored training for the upskilling of professionals working in the sector.

Context of the Project

Cultural and Creative Sectors have been among the most negatively affected since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Cultural institutions, specially museums, have indeed faced big challenges over the last couple of years, being closed for prolonged periods or with very reduced access in order to follow the social distancing measures. This impossibility of fully experiencing the physical dimension of Cultural Heritage has therefore led to increasing efforts to transfer cultural experiences, products and services in an online format.

The NEXT-MUSEUM project stems from the need to support small and medium-sized museums in this transition towards a digital era, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. These institutions, along with the whole Cultural and Creative Sectors, will have to rebuild themselves in order to face the new challenges of a post-Covid era, but often they lack resources and concrete possibilities to update themselves and the skills of their staff.

Aim of the Project

The aim of the project is therefore to provide small and medium-sized museums with a new generation of specialized EU professionals working in the Cultural Heritage sector, equipped with a recognised, cross-cutting and high-level digital skillset: the Digital Curators. This professional figure will be essential for the future of such museums in an era of Digital Cultural Heritage. The project wants to pursue digitalisation as a strategic goal, in a twofold process: to improve museum management by streamlining internal procedures and promoting efficiency; and to promote culture through digital tools, attracting and stimulating the interest of the public through tailor-made initiatives.

The ultimate objective of the project would be the definition of a common model of an operational plan, which would enable digital transformation in museums in a traceable way that would highly contribute to the valorization, accessibility and shareability of the whole European Union Cultural Heritage.

The Digital Curator

The Digital Curator is able to apply the most modern digital tools and resources to a variety of aspects essential for museum management, such as: facility management, cataloguing, management and updating of archives, online dissemination and promotion, creation of new formats and visitor experiences, user support in both physical and digital spaces, among many others.

The Digital Curator is an emergent, strategic professional, essential for the restructuring of small and medium-sized museums in a digital era. Nevertheless, up to date, there is no single, unanimously adopted reference framework for empowering learners with relevant skills, competences and expertise for
this career. The general objective of the project is therefore to enhance the professional figure of the Digital Curator as a strategic profession to revive the system of small-medium sized museums.

What will be done

The objectives will be reached through a set of well-defined activities implemented by the 6 partners coming from 4 different countries (Italy, Spain, Croatia and Greece).
The project activities will encompass the elaboration of guidelines, training activities, pilot actions, and communication & dissemination initiatives aimed at spreading the results of the project.