Museums and cultural organisations have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis, some of them significantly, by the loss in revenues. At the same time, the crisis has speeded up the digital transformation of the sector. Digital technologies become central to almost every aspect of the work of museums to meet the new realities. On the one hand, digital means can offer solutions in relation to museums’ functions, from the collection of artefacts to their conservation and study, and from the interpretation and exhibition of museum collections to marketing and to managing online and onsite visitors. On the other hand, there is a huge potential for innovation and experimentation using advanced technologies and for collaboration between the cultural, creative and technology sectors, in an inclusive way. Investing in digital technologies is essential for museums to innovate and to adapt to new circumstances.
The proposed action will provide the opportunity for museums to work with creative and technology partners, as well as with each other, through small, experimental projects, to apply digital technologies to a selected area of work or activities, in an innovative way. The project will support museums, for example and not exclusively, to develop solutions that enhance their digital presence, or innovate their day-to-day functions and processes, experiment with 3D digitization and AR/VR applications for visitors, tap in the creative potential of technology to offer transformative experiences for audiences, or test new business models for their post-crisis recovery.
The action will be implemented through a number of individual projects in selected museums, representing good geographical balance across Europe. The action is targeted in particular to small and medium sized museums. Participating museums can choose to experiment in any application area they wish, but variation in the application areas across participating museums is encouraged.
The action will lead to a collaborative project structure for museums and cultural organisations in Europe, where the outcomes and the detailed documentation of the implemented individual projects will be shared through a cloud-based collaboration and innovation space, to serve as examples of reference, best practice and source of know-how for the museum sector.
The action will work together with existing initiatives that support the digital transformation of the cultural heritage sector, such as Europeana, the European digital platform for cultural heritage, and the European Competence Centre for the preservation and conservation of Monuments and Sites.
The action may also investigate the potential of further development and expansion under the Horizon Europe programme, by evaluating the challenges and opportunities of scaling up.
Proposals are expected to use financial support to third parties (FSTP) to support museums for the experimental projects, in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes, duly justified as a means to achieving the overall objectives. The consortium will define criteria for a fair and objective process for selecting museums. At least 60% of the budget is expected to be dedicated to FSTP and the maximum amount of FSTP, distributed through a grant, is EUR 30.000 per third party for the entire action duration but smaller amounts may also be justified.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the order of EUR 1 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
The action will promote collaboration and innovation in cultural organisations, primarily in the museum sector, at European level. It will offer the opportunity for museums, especially smaller and medium ones, to make the most of digital technologies and services to innovate their digital processes and digital presence, acquire and share know-how through collaboration, experimentation and shared practices, and potentially develop solutions contributing to their financial recovery. Participating museums are expected to develop skills and expertise through their dedicated project, while a shared collaboration and innovation space with good practices, examples of reference and common knowledge will foster capacity building and innovation in the museum sector in a wider and more inclusive way.