The NEO Collections project

Nutzerzentriert (user-centred) Explorativ (explorative) Open – Digital museum’s collections in the 21st century

Three partners are behind this project: the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, the Übersee-Museum Bremen and the National Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. They started NEO Collections together in December 2019.

Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg
Nationalmuseum Stockholm

The aim of the collaboration was to look for new ways to work with museum collections – online and on-site. The Federal Cultural Foundation is funding the four-year project from the Digital Fund of the programme “Kultur Digital”.

Kultur Digital
Kulturstiftung des Bundes

Focus on collections

The core and “treasure” of every museum are its collections. Museums have long since ceased to be merely places for imparting knowledge. They offer a framework for multicultural exchange, discussion and debate on topics from the past and present. They digitise collection holdings and make them accessible online. This also changes the view of the audience and possible needs.

  • What interests do people have in museum collections and what kind of access inspires them?
  • How and what can they contribute to researching and enriching the collections?
  • Which formats or products can help to enable or improve the exchange with the audience?

People in the NEO Collections project devote themselves to fundamental questions like these. The colleagues involved bring different backgrounds and experiences to the project. Through different experiments and workshops, agile working, digital, collaborative thinking and changing perspectives are promoted.

A network of teams

The guide and companion is Abhay Adhikari, director of the “Digital Identities” network. All museum staff involved in NEO Collections work in small teams in their institutions and work as autonomously as possible in manageable project steps that follow one another quickly. They can experiment and test in an open-ended way before evaluating and, if necessary, correcting or discarding a chosen course. In addition, central project topics are regularly brought to the centre of attention within the framework of various workshops. “In 2020, for example, the colleagues at the Übersee-Museum had ‘digital curating’, at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe ‘prototyping and innovations’ and at the National Museum Sweden ‘access to digital collections’ on the agenda,” explains Marleen Grasse, project coordinator at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg.

In the project’s blog, those involved will keep you up to date:

NEO Collections on Medium platform

Funded by the Digital Culture Programme of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation). Funded by the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media).