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International Conference:

Folk/Traditional/Popular Culture and the Internet

Volos, 6-7 November 2013

Introduction Organisers and sponsors The conference programme


Elisavet Papazoglou (Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλίας)
Folklore museums and the web: Do they "follow" parallel paths? Comments and Reflections

The museum, as its own story has proved, is an institution evolvable and adaptable to the social standards and the requirements of each era. Living, nowadays, in the internet - era, it is called to adapt, one more time, by “adopting” its web form simultaneously with its "physical" presence, in order to present its collections, to promote its communication, educational and social skills, to become a shareholder and provider of a globalized knowledge, to enhance, generally, its function.

Some museums in Greece (especially archaeological and art museums) have begun shaping their online presence. For those people, however, who deal with folk culture matters and the web form of the folklore museums is more than obvious that that new kind of presence was and still remains poor and insufficient. The lack of interactivity and interaction, the small capability from the visitors’ side to supply with their own material the museum websites (user - upload), the reduced use of interactive maps and multimedia applications, the poor presence in social media (facebook, twitter, etc.) and fora, blogs, wikis, the limited information procedures for the visitors through newsletter or through registration of members, the lack of web provided educational material and much more, all told reflect a more static and "fallen behind" character of our folklore museum’ websites, unlike the role of interaction and continuous evolution a web visitor would expect. Additionally, a more purely informational oriented use of our folklore museums’ websites is observed than an entertaining one, while the internet is approached more as a way of promotion and advertisement than as a mean of expression or a tool of educational and cultural diffusion, as other colleagues have already indicated.

Several questions and concerns arise. Do virtual folklore museums and internet “follow” parallel paths? What are the causes of their so poor web presence? Are the reasons economic considering the broader greek economic crisis? Or, by insisting keeping a romantic attitude toward folk culture, seems as if the folklore museums have no place in something as neoteric as the internet? Does the lack of museological study and correct museum function, which is observed in many of them, as in several cases are founded by cultural associations, companies, local authorities, is one more cause that make them remain web absent or insufficient? Is there a case that our folklore museums do not meet the essential criteria to benefit from European funding programs like "Information Society" in order to strengthen their web presence? These are just some significant questions that surely make those people who deal with folk culture and folklore museums wonder and search for answers.