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This is how Museums can Innovate Around Interpretation and Diversity

Many would-be visitors claim museums are still failing to be inclusive and accessible.

• Working class people, are the least likely group to visit museums and galleries.

• By embracing new technologies and utilising the expertise of independent curators, museums can navigate this changing landscape.

Image: Design by CCD

When we talk about diversity we're describing the differences in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical ability, religious beliefs, and all the other ideologies which make us unique and human.

We all share a history, and so we all need to be contributing to the way that history is told.

The benefits of having a diverse organisation include a more informed decision making process through varied perspectives, enhanced engagement with members and it can provide a better understanding of the groups and people who your organisation serves.

Image: Zocalo Public Square

In institutions which were built out of colonialism and built upon patriarchal attitudes, if diverse people are to have any say in the way their history is preserved and retold, then diverse people must be at the centre. The notion of museums has long been romanticised, but it is time to face the reality that sometimes museums do more harm than good.

In buildings which display the physical bodies of Indigenous peoples, how can we expect this group of people to want to participate in museums?

Disabled people, who constantly have to fight for access to buildings, navigating dangerous obstacles in some cases. How can we expect them to feel included?

Working classes, people from the Global South, have all lived unequal lives to that of the ruling class, who established museums on these same foundations. How will we change the way we place value on certain items and not others. How can we facilitate diverse people telling their history?

Image: Unarchived History

Thankfully we do have some clues, which tell us exactly what underrepresented people want to see from heritage organisations.

Innovative technology, immersive and interactive experiences, feeling comfortable and able to participate.

The white cube has its place, but the way people view their history and want to engage with the past is shifting and museums need to keep up. In London where 40% of the population were born outside the UK, museums need to recognise and acknowledge their local community, curating exhibitions that will inspire and fulfil their needs.

The team behind Past Futures are part of the community. We encompass the BAME community, LGBT+, working class, migrants and much more. The work we create is curated to communicate the way in which we all share a history. We focus on highlighting the forgotten history of underrepresented people, as we passionately believe these gaps in our knowledge will help to bring greater clarity to our collective past.

We have already shifted our approach to heritage interpretation, will you join us?

If you are part of a heritage organisation who is ready to join us in shifting the lens in museums, then please take a look at our services page or get in touch


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