The Whole Story, and Then Some: ‘Digital Storytelling’ in Evolving Museum Practice

Amelia Wong, The George Washington University, USA

Published paper: The whole story, and then some: ‘digital storytelling’ in evolving museum practice

"What is digital storytelling?" This paper uses that question as a jumping-off point for discussing how museum practitioners can advance how they construct narrative experiences for visitors, both on and off site, in the digital age. I argue that pursuing “digital storytelling” is not productive, since it is an essentially technologically determinist concept that leads not to digital stories but to stories that happen to be digital. In contrast, the emergence of ubiquitous digital technology directs museums to consider storytelling as spatial; mobile; location, context, and audience aware; interactive; transmedial (occurring across media); and intermedial (dependent on the interaction of media). This perspective is used to begin to articulate a storycraft for practitioners and to argue that museums need to invest in developing staff as storytellers with fluency in the narrative capacities afforded by the interactions between people, space, content, and technology.

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