One of the core responsibilities of every museum is the managing and exhibiting of its collection. The objects and their stories are important to us all, no matter if they have local, regional, national or international significance. Museum collections have a major social importance through embodying our shared history and our identity.
NEMO believes that collections are at the heart of museums: without them, there would be no museums. They help people determine their place in the world and define their identities. They reflect cultural diversity and are a cornerstone for the identity of people and nations. They provide a window on the world and represent our shared European heritage.
The digital shift
NEMO believes that the digital shift has had a significant impact on society, and museums have a role to play in this process. Digitisation produces new challenges and opportunities, requiring new skills and a changing awareness both on organisational and on individual levels. Using this tool, museums can engage with a wider and more diverse audience and play an increasingly interactive and educational role within society.
Access to and engagement with, museums’ collections is a human right and should be as wide as possible. To ensure that museums can fully exploit the possibilities the digital shift offers, raising their profile and increasing the range and quality of the services they offer, often to new audiences.
Museums in Europe have large and valuable collections that cannot always be shown to the public due to limitations on funding and space. Museums in general are non-commercial institutions supporting education and research in service to society. Museums should not and cannot pay to make their collections available online. Digitising an object alone has limited value. It is the information about the object, its context and the links that can be made to other objects or ideas that creates a lasting impact. At present, copyright management – among other considerations - hinders museums in making their collections fully accessible. Museums often lack the necessary funds and skills to exploit the potential of digitization fully.
- to campaign for reducing physical, (cultural), legal and funding barriers, allowing greater access and use of collections.
- to press for museums to be able to actively manage their collections for the purpose of sustainability, both to grow and to de-access their collections.
- to map out and exchange digital content and ensure it is sustainable for future generations. For this, a shared licensing and copyright agreement in Europe is vital.
- to promote the development and harmonisation of multilingual tools for better access to cultural heritage.
- to raise awareness of the importance of digitization at all levels of museum work.