In a Culture like ours: U-Nity within the Virtual and Real Museum Experience
The youth of this generation, the Millennials, are known for their technological savviness and global perceptions, virtual and real. They are part of a global community - a community of like-minded individuals whose awareness of popular and high culture is most influenced by mainstream culture and mass media. Historically, museums have been seen as mediators between popular and high culture. Many Millennials view the museum as a ‘mausoleum’ containing only the past and captive to the interests of the elite. As such it exemplifies the commodification and institutionalisation of culture and cultural production. It is with this view of the museum that has hindered its growth and relevance within the Millennials’ generation, riddled with capitalist rewards and technological escapes, from iPods to Second Life avatars. Museums can only become socially meaningful spaces if users are able to connect to their own identities, virtual and real; thus developing an individual extension of themselves between the virtual and real worlds, the U-Nity - a form of the virtual museum experience that takes its cues from the common Millennials’ form of communication and exhibition found on Facebook and MySpace and translate it to an extension of the physical museum experience.
Keywords: Virtual Museum, Millennials, Generations, Media, Popular Culture, Art Museums
Assistant Professor, School of Interior Design, Ryerson University