Let's visit museum collections!
What can we gather about the data?

An online workshop during vDHd2021 on  (CET)

Join us for virtual museum visits to engage with collection interfaces and reflect on the data that is being displayed, the kinds of interactions supported, and claims made about culture. Regardless whether the interfaces are cutting-edge or conventional, the main point of this participatory event is to jointly visit the online collections of museums and explore gaps in their representation. The workshop will adapt digital methods to perform data and interface criticism in the context of digital cultural heritage.

web browser illustration with museum symbol

The past decade has seen a rapid rise of museums making their collections available online. While this has furthered access to cultural collections it has also drawn attention to the decisions that go into the selection of cultural data on online platforms. Digital representations of cultural content could lead to stabilizing and reproducing dominant narratives while repressing and diminishing others. Ethical issues in interpretation of these digital collections tend to be caused by lack of context and multi-perspective cultural data. What do visitors get to see and how do they experience the objects? Not only the data but also the interface structures both the appearance of—and the possible interactions with—the respective collections and the underlying data. Therefore we aim to explore online museum collections to jointly reflect about data and its accessibility via images, text, videos, metadata, and interface elements.

network diagram with mug in center and various icons connected to it

After a brief introduction followed by several guided tours, workshop participants are invited to engage with related questions about digital interfaces and the underlying data. We hope to highlight data biases and hegemony in these collections by drawing multiple perspectives to it. While this event is not intended to contribute to the social program of the virtual conference, we are trying to open a collegial space that is conducive to amicable exchanges about both the beauty and the beast in digital cultural heritage.

stylized map in a painting's frame

The tour guides, themes, and museum collections will be announced early March.


To participate send an email by 23 March 2021.


Sara Akhlaq¹  Sabine de Günther¹  Sarah Kreiseler²  Marian Dörk¹
¹UCLAB, Fachhochschule Potsdam  ²Leuphana Universität Lüneburg