From “exhibition” To “laboratory”: Rethinking curatorial practices through a digital experimental project. The case study of #Dolomitesmuseum - laboratory of stories




Digital Curation, Digital Storytelling, Collaborative Design, Digital Heritage, Community Stories


Digital curation is one of the most experimental areas of museum practice introduced by the digital revolution. A whole new generation of cultural experiences are emerging from the interaction with online spaces and social media platforms, encouraging museums to explore new curatorial approaches. In this paper, we will show how a digital experimental project led to the rethinking of the exhibition format into a more collaborative, interdisciplinary and laboratory approach to museum curation. The case study analysed is Laboratory of Stories, a dynamic participatory archive which was co-designed with a vibrant community of heritage professionals, local communities, and lovers of the Dolomites during a three-year project. An evaluation study combining different qualitative and quantitative methods was implemented to explore the nature of this curatorial practice. A series of key findings emerged from the study: the introduction of new narrative styles and interdisciplinary perspectives; the involvement of different communities in the curatorial process; the shift from a tangible, object-based, to a more intangible, open, and dialogic interpretation of heritage and of knowledge making. The findings show how the ‘laboratory’ metaphor can help museums to embrace the challenges of a participatory, post-digital society, suggesting a novel approach where the co-creation of narratives is at the heart of the curatorial practice.


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Author Biographies

Stefania Zardini Lacedelli, Universita Ca' Foscari, Italy

I am an interdisciplinary researcher with 10 years’ experience in digital transformation in museums. My doctoral research at the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, funded by the AHRC Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership, has explored how the curation of sound in a platform world can foster the adoption of a new museum conceptualization: the ‘Platform-Museum’, a post-digital infrastructure where heritage is co-created. From this model, in 2016 I have founded DOLOM.IT, a virtual participatory museum that co-creates its digital collections in collaboration with the inhabitants, cultural professionals, students and researchers of the Dolomites area.

I have advanced curatorial experience in the design of digital narratives, sonic practices and participatory projects. Alongside my academic career, I supported the digital transformation of more than 50 cultural organizations and 150 museum professionals. In 2019 I received the M4C Cultural Engagement Award for impact of my research in the museum sector.

Since 2022 I am Research Fellow at the Science Museum Group within the Congruence Engine Project, one of the five discovery projects of the Towards a National Collection funding stream, whose aim is to take the first steps towards creating a unified virtual national collection.

Chiara Zanetti, University of Trieste, Italy


Giacomo Pompanin, Museo Dolom, Italy



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How to Cite

Zardini Lacedelli, S., Fazzi, F., Zanetti, C., & Pompanin, G. (2023). From “exhibition” To “laboratory”: Rethinking curatorial practices through a digital experimental project. The case study of #Dolomitesmuseum - laboratory of stories. Herança, 6(1), 158–183.