Integration of Handheld Guides in Museums: The Case of Lithuania’s Art Museums

Milda Rutkauskaitė 1
  • 1 Vytautas Magnus University, , Kaunas, Lithuania

Summary

The most common technological device found in organisations of cultural heritage is a handheld guide. This device can simultaneously perform several functions, and its integration in permanent expositions has significance both for the operation of organisations of cultural heritage and experience of visitors when they visit a museum or a gallery. It should be noted that art museums and galleries encounter a task to present often static and difficult to understand at first sight works of art in an interesting fashion. Therefore, in this study, the main functions of a handheld guide as a technological device as well as its benefits, problems, and application in art museums are analysed.

In the first part of the study, various functions of handheld guides, their importance, the meaning produced for the organisation of cultural heritage, and experience of a visitor are analysed based on scientific literature. Problems of integration of handheld guides and strategic steps that should be taken to ensure a successful integration process are reviewed. In the second part, four cases of Lithuanian art museums are presented. All museums that participated in the survey were analysed by collecting observational data, communicating with the managers of the organisations, and analysing the experience of museum visitors using the handheld guide.

Scientific literature presented in the article substantiates the importance of handheld guides in museums and possible problems of integration of such devices. The study conducted in Lithuanian art museums reveals the fact that handheld guides are significant devices that help improve the experience of a museum visitor, but it is also observed that handheld guides have not yet become an integral part of a visit to a Lithuanian art museum.

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