Los Angeles

Is the Digital Age Making Museums Obsolete?

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

A Zócalo/Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Event
Moderated by Gregory Rodriguez, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Zócalo Public Square
LOCATION:
National Center for the Preservation of Democracy
111 N. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Paid parking is available at the Little Tokyo Mall Public Parking Lot (318 E. First St.). Enter from San Pedro Street. Additional paid parking is available at the Japanese Village Plaza Parking Lot (356 E. First St.) and the Office Depot Plaza Parking Lot (401 Alameda St.).

Before the digital age, museums were places where people went to acquire knowledge. But now most of the information and images contained in museums are available on your smartphone. So how can museums stave off obsolescence? Can populist shows and attention-getting architecture keep museums relevant and pull today’s audiences away from their devices? Are some museums succeeding in redefining their purpose as providing “experiences” and at least the semblance of authenticity, like touching mastodon bones or reading directly from the pages of Lincoln’s diary or Gutenberg’s Bible? And what happens when museums try to use social media and other technology to connect visitors to exhibits—and to each other? Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County president and director Lori Bettison-Varga, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center director Lisa Sasaki, and Nicole Ivy, George Washington University public historian and former director of inclusion for the American Alliance of Museums, visit Zócalo to discuss the threats and opportunities that new technologies create for some of our most durable institutions.