CfP: Special Issue of the Journal Internet Histories “Museums on the Web: Exploring the past for the future”

This Special Issue will shed light on the history of museums on the Web. The advent of online technologies has changed the way museums manage collections and access them, shape exhibitions, and build communities and participation. However, scant attention has been given to how museums’ online presence has developed over time, from the mid-1990s to the present. Research has been undertaken for histories about museums and digital technologies (see for example Parry 2007, 2009; Cameron 2003; Cameron and Kenderdine 2010; Bowen 2010; Gartner 2016; Legene 2016). However, this Special Issue invites scholars and museum practitioners to discuss specifically the histories of museums on the Web. How have online collections been built, circulated, and exhibited? How have (information) architecture and museum websites developed over time? And how have museums built and engaged with (online) communities? We are interested in the foundational work by the early Internet pioneers, as well as the ruptures and continuities throughout the history of museums on the Web.

The main objective of this Special Issue is to bring together contemporary scholarship in this field and with an eye to helping museums reflect on the legacy of their online presence. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, museums enhanced their digital activities and the importance of the Web to engage with audiences. In today’s fast-changing digital landscape, museums are now facing new challenges such as the rise of AI and the semantic Web. By engaging with the past, we can enhance our understanding of how museums are functioning today and offer new perspectives for future developments.

In order to showcase the diversity of research within the field, this Special Issue aims to provide a wide range of (inter)disciplinary perspectives and welcomes scholars and practitioners to select methods, methodologies and resources as they see fit, including both traditional and Web archival resources. We especially welcome histories focused on understudied countries, areas, cultures, and digital communities. Possible topics could include, but are not limited to:

  • Historiographies of museums on the Web
  • The development of virtual museums and the evolving online presence of museums
  • (The growth of) digital collections
  • Online exhibitions and digital storytelling
  • Online communities and digital engagement
  • Digital inclusion and diversity
  • Analysis of case studies (e.g. virtual museums, online exhibitions)
  • How can the past inform the future of museums on the Web?
  • Shaping museums’ digital identity
  • The (shifting) balance between ‘real’ and ‘digital’ experience
  • The post-digital museum: How did the Web change the museum?
  • The social role of museums on the Web (e.g. online exhibitions and traumatic memories and experiences)
  • The obsolescence and hype cycles of technologies

Submission Instructions

  • Abstract (max. 500 words) submission: 10 September, 2022
  • Editorial board decision on acceptance of abstracts for publication: 10 October, 2022
  • A typical paper for this journal should be between 6000 and 8000 words.
  • Full paper due: 1 February, 2023
  • Review process and revisions due: February – May, 2023

Please note that acceptance of abstract does not ensure final publication as all articles must go through the journal’s peer review process. We only publish manuscripts in English.

Guest Editors:

Karin de Wild (Leiden University),
Nadezhda Povroznik (Perm State University),

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