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Web person at the Imperial War Museum, just completed PhD about digital sustainability in museums (the original motivation for this blog was as my research diary). Posting occasionally, and usually museum tech stuff but prone to stray. I welcome comments if you want to take anything further. These are my opinions and should not be attributed to my employer or anyone else (unless they thought of them too). Twitter: @jottevanger

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Now that's what I call sustainable. Not.

Well, I didn't realise that my PhD might have such a tragi-comic example to illustrate the need for an examination of digital sustainability in museums, which is its subject matter, but the BBC's report (and a longer one on the telly) on the situation faced by The Public in West Bromwich even before it opens does throw up a lot of questions about who makes decisions and how, and who is best placed to decide when to pull the plug. Tens of £millions spent and yet facing the possibility that it will be scrapped before it fully opens - and at the heart of it, in the interactive gallery that's not yet open, lies digital media that may be out-dated before its launch. Will it be any good, will it look exciting and cutting edge, will it break, will it be worth the money already spent, and is that important when deciding about its future - or is it only the money yet to be spent that matters, that required to keep it working or useful? Who will decide what money will be spent and on what: the Arts Council, Sandwell Council, Advantage West Midlands, the European Union? The story's not over yet, and good luck to them since they've come this far. Hopefully it will be brilliant. But there must be questions to ask.

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