New Takes on Cultural Heritage: Digitalisation at Exponatec Cologne
The increased relevance of digital technologies was on full display at this year’s Exponatec Cologne. The international trade fair, long considered a leader in the museum, conservation, and restoration fields, took place from 17-19 November 2021. Europa Nostra participated by arranging a colloquium and hosting an informational stand there.
The tenth edition of Exponatec Cologne featured exhibitors offering advancements in exhibition design and technology, digital conservation practices, knowledge transfer, and more. In addition to the exhibition stands, the Speakers Corner on the main floor and several events organised by partners of the fair provided a platform for the exchange of ideas.
Europa Nostra Germany, along with partners from across Germany, presented the colloquium “Digitalisation and Cultural Heritage: Impacts and Opportunities” on 18 November. The event highlighted several successful cultural heritage projects that utilized digital technologies. The presentations covered both recent and future digital developments and longstanding uses of digital elements to convey knowledge at heritage sites as well. Featured projects ranged from mobile applications to augmented and virtual reality to crowdsourced databases.
Dr. Uwe Koch, the moderator and main organiser of the event, described the significance of these digital technologies for the field of heritage: “Digital methods and formats are helping us to build bridges between Cultural Heritage and people, to connect different sites especially in the field of cultural education and dialogue.” Many of the presenters also recounted how new technologies made information on cultural heritage more accessible and engaging to visitors and professionals alike, highlighting how audiences have been able to relate to heritage in new ways, through technological advances.
Honoring what came before while embracing the new was a theme that was present throughout the colloquium and the fair itself. Dr. Koch, Europa Nostra Council Member and the newly appointed President of Europa Nostra Germany, closed the colloquium by thanking Alexander Fürst zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, Vice-President of Europa Nostra and former President of Europa Nostra Deutschland, for his years of service in the same position. Following the closing of the event, the attendees proceeded to the main trade floor to network at the Europa Nostra stand and explore the other exhibits, some of which offered the very technologies that had been discussed during the colloquium.