Which and where is the market of new information technology for museums?

Ana Paula Gaspar, Brasil

We would like to discuss market opportunities that exist between museum convergence and new information technologies in Brazil. Ana Paula Gaspar, author of such study, started a journey around the Mutz in February 2011, a digital creative entrepreneurship for museums. At first, the idea of creating a blog to discuss themes like museums and social media in the Portuguese language eventually turned into an online Collaborative Museum Guide. Mutz’s objective is to connect people and museums, and broaden, innovate, monetize museum visitation. It is an online museum guide that gathers 40 institutions in Belo Horizonte and surrounding area in one single website, which allows people to share their experiences while visiting institutions, which broadens museology possibilities. Both guide stakeholders and users support the hypothesis that online access to information around city museums may facilitate access for those who are far from the actual museums, and for disabled people. Many have stated that Mutz is welcome, because it could become a prominent communication channel for those museums that do not own a website. There was some questioning after its launch around the challenge to offer updated and comprehensive information about museums, the need to promote the Guide, the need around search tools within the website, recommendation of restaurants and other touristic landmarks that surround the museums besides giving more information about the more than 3,000 Brazilian museums and information on access to museums namely bus lines and stops, infrastructure for the disabled visitors, children, food courts inside or close to the museum. As a digital business, Mutz will always work on ‘beta’ concept.

Ana engaged in many entrepreneurial education programs in the last year, where the pursuit for a sustainable business model has been her greatest challenge. The unavailability of studies on market and the impact of museums on the economy, as well as the urge to study them to generate new businesses that make use of the web and the new technologies is what she intends to study in this formal paper. The funding model for museums is going through clear changes worldwide, and the institutions need to seek new ways to secure their sustainability. One of the greatest opportunities lies in the partnership between institutions and creative entrepreneurs capable of monetizing the museums’ greatest assets, works of art, content, and knowledge, like the Mutz. But in order to do it, it is necessary to join traditionally opposite concepts: entrepreneurship, innovation, and museums. Museum directors regard this with tranquility and have manifested such need. Despite the few studies on museum market, great difficulties like sources of financing and copyrights also permeate the routine of creative entrepreneurs who operate in the museum and technological sectors. The author has started to discuss the theme on her article “Digital Initiative for Museums” and intends to dive into the subject as she studies the project’s technical and financial viability.