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collections management system, training
staff in using computers, establishing a
Web presence. Larger institutions, by con-
trast, had some very different priorities,
for example the incorporation of IT and
increasingly 3D in major in-gallery exhibi-
tions and the development of sophisticated
online exhibitions. However, a striking
aspect was the high level of IT use for
research (e.g. the Web and Internet) by
both small and large museums.
C
onsultation with museum profession-
als and other key experts in the cul-
tural sector highlighted great interest in 3D
and considerable awareness of its potential.
Around 65% of archaeological museums
said 3D had either an `important' or a `very
important' role to play in presenting
archaeology to the public and in the
study of material culture.This varied from
around 50% in Spain to around 85% in
Greece. One surprising finding from our
survey of European archaeological muse-
ums was just how many had already used
3D in presenting or promoting their col-
lections, sites or museums. Around 35% of
museums we surveyed had already used 3D
in some form. Often this was for only one
initial presentation or project but further
Europe. In the UK, for example, there are
739 museums with archaeological collec-
tions about a third of all museums
(www.24hourmuseum.co.uk). Greece is a
special case; the majority of museums have
archaeological collections.
GENERAL USE OF IT AND ENGAGEMENT
WITH 3D BY EUROPEAN ARCHAEOLOGY
MUSEUMS
F
irst, there was a universal acceptance
across all six countries analysed that
IT has an absolutely core role to play in
managing cultural assets and presenting
cultural heritage to the public.This was
recognised by those representing small
museums with little IT capacity as much
as by large institutions with sophisticated
IT installations.There was, however, a great
variety of experience regarding the extent
to which IT is currently being used and a
concomitant range of future expectations
and priorities. At the lower end of the
spectrum, a number of smaller museums
had a very basic level of IT support.
Accordingly, the immediate priorities for
these institutions tended to be fundamental
IT activities such as computerising their
2
. Questionnaire survey with responses
from 67 archaeology museums in the
partner countries, with this indicative
sample ranging from very small muse-
ums (3000 visitors per year) to large
ones with over a million visitors.
3
. Interviews/meetings with curators,
museum management, government rep-
resentatives and technical experts from
the ORION countries along with
other European countries, Canada,
Japan, Russia and the USA.
4
. Literature and Web research of
museum and other relevant sites,
taking advantage of current and previous
work (see references [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]).
W
e believe this four-pronged
approach provided the team with
a reasonable overall picture including
`leaders and laggards' in technology take-
up. However, we do not claim to have
followed a rigorous statistical methodology
since only six countries were covered and
we opted to have equal sample sizes from
each country, thus under-weighting
France, Germany and Spain.
I
n the ORION study we take
`Archaeology Museums' to mean all
museums with archaeological collections,
thus embracing a range of institutions from
small specialised archaeological museums
such as the Museum of Cycladic Art in
Athens to the Louvre and the British
Museum.
S
tanding at the end of the `archaeologi-
cal chain' from excavation through to
display, museums have a crucial role in pre-
serving and restoring items, and in educa-
tional and research access for the public. In
the European Union there are around 1
billion objects in 15,000 museums receiv-
ing over 600 million visits per year, as
reported by the Museums and Galleries
and New Technologies (MAGNETS) proj-
ect [7]. Of this total we estimate that there
are over 5000 archaeology museums in
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
Principal IT Functions: Total Orion Partner Countries (67 Museums)
1 Collections Management (94%)
2 Research (69%)
3 In Gallery Presentation to Public (52%)
4 Special IT Gallery (25%)
5 Other IT Applications (29%)
6 Web Presence (69%)
7 Promotion on Web (69%)
8 Web - Archaelogoy Presentations to Public (22%)
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