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Cultural institutions increasingly see the need to play an important role in the lifelong learning of citizens. Recent trends, particularly in science museums, have been toward supporting visitors to actively learn rather than passively receive information. We propose how narrative can be used within the design of new technologies to support lifelong learning in a cultural setting. Narratives can be used to construct explanations and make sense of the world. Narrative is also central to collaboration and the building of community identity. Heritage collections, whether held privately or curated by a cultural institution convey narratives. Our conceptualisation of narrative, learning theory and curatorial practice indicates that new technology in the cultural domain should: support active interpretation; help reveal the context and process underpinning cultural artefacts; support learning and creativity; and address the challenge to provide an experience that is both entertaining and educational.
Date of Conference: 2-6 Sept. 2002