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The place of NFTs in the new museum pratices

  • 1.  The place of NFTs in the new museum pratices

    Posted 03-16-2023 10:55 AM

    Hello all,

    I'm doing research on the place of NFTs in the new museum practices. I am a master student at the University of Paris Sorbonne and I would be honored to discuss these issues.

    In this context, I am interested in the use of NFT as a new digital object in the museum but especially in the question of how technology can contribute to the production of value in digital museum objects that goes beyond monetary value.

    What do you think: does the current NFT craze respond to a trend, a fad or, on the contrary, is a future-oriented solution, respond to a structural evolution of museums towards digital?

    Thanks so much! I look forward to your input.

    Marie Degonse PhD
    Sorbonne University - Paris

  • 2.  RE: The place of NFTs in the new museum pratices

    Posted 03-17-2023 11:47 AM

    While I don't have specific input I would like to draw your attention to this year's MuseumWeek themes - Tuesday June 6th includes NFTs

    Homepage • MuseumWeek, the worldwide cultural event on social media (

    MuseumWeek 2023 will take place both online and offline from June 5th to 11th! This year marks the tenth anniversary of the official international week of museums.

    June 5 Environment

    June 6 Web3

    June 7 Food

    June 8 Oceans

    June 9 AI

    June 10 Heritage

    June 11 Sun

    Katy Menne
    Education Director
    Columbia River Maritime Museum
    Astoria OR

  • 3.  RE: The place of NFTs in the new museum pratices

    Posted 03-20-2023 09:41 AM

    Hi Katy, 

    Thank you for your reply ! I will watch this carefully. 

    Marie Degonse PhD

  • 4.  RE: The place of NFTs in the new museum pratices

    Posted 03-20-2023 03:23 PM

    Hi Katy,

    Really interesting research question and replies here. As AR and digital asset creators for the arts, culture and heritage field, we tend to focus on the experiential side/educational value of their use.  Most digital assets we create are for a specific purpose.  So NFT'ing the assets in either of these cases is irrelevant and superfluous and runs contrary to their reason for being.  The main potential benefit of NFTs in my observation is for digital fine artists (i.e. artists creating expressive, speculative works) as opposed to for creators/designers.  I'd say they potentially fill a need and serve as an innovation in the artist's case. But since the NFT is not really attached to the digital object, I'm not sure how much safety and benefit they will have in the long run. Personally, I also have serious environmental concerns. 

    Feel free to reach out if you want a perspective from the creators and artists side.  I can connect you with a number of creator and artist colleagues as well including some artists that have created NFTs. 

    Julia Beabout
    Creative Director, Novaby AR Studio
    (206) 595-7213

  • 5.  RE: The place of NFTs in the new museum pratices

    Posted 03-20-2023 06:21 AM

    Hi, Marie!

    I think you can find two different issues here. 

    1) NFTs as valuable, interchangeable objects. This is nor particularly new, as NFTs act as original pieces in the context of art sales. I don't see this aspect as very relevant, even if they are introducing new means of proving an artwork's originality. Furthermore, I guess this idea of creating an image (without a great effort) and selling it for a huge price is part of a scam in which many people can fall into. 

    2) The second aspect if far more interesting and if refers to POAPs. NFTs can be used as certificates of assistance, as part of a museum donor's club or to engage existing audiences in a exclusive group that can enjoy some special features given their participation in museum's activities or echibitions.

    In our museum (a national museum in Argentina) we're now developing this second aspect. 

    I hope this can be useful to your investigation!



    Tomás Dotta

    General Coordinator

    Museo Nacional de Arte Oriental

    Buenos Aires - Argentina

    Tomás Dotta
    Master in Public Policy
    Buenos Aires

  • 6.  RE: The place of NFTs in the new museum pratices

    Posted 03-20-2023 03:10 PM

    Hi Tomas,

    Your use of POAPs is very interesting.  Can you share more about how you are integrating them into the visitor journey  - both their real world journey and digital journey.

    Julia Beabout
    Creative Director, Novaby AR Studio
    (206) 595-7213

  • 7.  RE: The place of NFTs in the new museum pratices

    Posted 03-20-2023 04:43 PM

    Thanks! It's something we're thinking to develop. It would be focused on the young audience our museum luckily has, in order to give them new means to become more engaged with our proposals, and letting us know their thoughts and expectations. 

    I'm thinking about a friends club of the museum in which visitors could demonstrate how close they are to our exhibitions and activities. From then on, perhaps a new way of financing the museum (as nowadays it can only be funded by scarce national budgets). But it is still very early to know (we need the approval of the National Ministry of Culture and to find a way to develop this).


    Tomás Dotta
    Master in Public Policy
    General Coordinator / COO
    Museo Nacional de Arte Oriental
    Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • 8.  RE: The place of NFTs in the new museum pratices

    Posted 07-02-2023 12:19 PM

    Hi Tomás

    Thank you for your reply ! It really helped me with my research. 

    Marie Degonse
    Master's Thesis
    Sorbonne University - Paris

  • 9.  RE: The place of NFTs in the new museum pratices

    Posted 03-20-2023 09:31 AM

    Good luck with this question.  As Editor of Curator: The Museum Journal, I've received innumerable PR releases about this novelty items, asking me to cover the flurry of media around their release. I have asked museum professionals, NFT creators, and their media representatives to write an article for our journal and haven't received a thing.  Given that this is your research question, i'd be very interested in an article, a. perspective piece on why you're pursuing this research, etc... You can learn more about our journal guidelines to authors on the journal website.

    For me, questions about NFT's is their intensely carbon negative due to the underlying code versus what the actual product is and how it is used once purchased.  They seem to be things that slide quickly into a wealthy person's library never to be looked at again.  That would mean they appear to have speculative value but neither actual intellectual value as objects that contribute to society, nor ideas worthy of an audience, even if they are part of our current material culture.  Like history museums that have an old scrub board that is no longer used for cleaning clothes, the object and its provenance are marginal novelty items, like carnival glass.  I believe they are the latest disposable commercial item that has no real relevance to the collections. I have heard presentations by people who mint the coins that they can add depth, value, and backstory to artifacts selected from a permanent collection which makes them more "collectable" but mostly they are about making something private. 

    Few museums (meaning I have yet to hear from one but hope your request does better) have specific accessioning and deaccessioning policies for "born-digital" content but that's the category these would be.  They are either gift shop items (ie: affinity relationship tokens or momentos) or they are collections items.  it seems that some folks are arguing that they are interpretive materials which makes them similar to a walking tour that you can download to your digital device. 

    I believe that museums involved in this speculative market should create a policy to ensure at least five tokens of the total number minted are retained by the museum, two for the permanent digital archive to reflect the museum's history in the financial market and three outside the archive that can be sold in the improbable event these things rise in value.  It may only be a few euros later, but it would also ensure that the museum can participate if speculation in these markets increases to very high levels.  

    I have heard that it is possible to embed a % fee on each transaction in perpetuity so when the token changes hands in the future, the museum does continue to derive income.  But I would be very interested in knowing the calculation for the real carbon cost of that transaction so the museum could do the responsible thing and offset those receipts with some form of mitigation. 

    I don't think these are a crime, just a time-intensive brand extension of the type of products that land in gift shops. So I don't see any justification for considering them more than part of the financial history of museum fundraising from wealthy individuals.  I hope you can interview some of the creators to investigate their sales pitch, and then unpack that through a museum practices lens.  

    Good luck!

    John Fraser, PhD AIA
    President & CEO Knology
    Editor, Curator: The Museum Journal (John Wiley and Sons, Inc.)
    Series Editor, Psychology and Our Planet (Springer Nature) 

    Author: The Social Value of Zoos

    40 Exchange Pl. Suite 1403
    New York, NY 10005

    main: 347-766-3399. fax: 347-388-2815 
    Twitter: @KnologyResearch

  • 10.  RE: The place of NFTs in the new museum pratices

    Posted 03-21-2023 10:22 AM
    Thank you John. I concur 100%.

    The harmful environmental impact of NFTs and cryptocurrency cannot be understated and rolled into the consideration of a museum's collecting, education, engagement, and sustainability policies.

    Tamsen Young
    pronouns: she/hers
    Museum Digital Media and Strategic Initiatives Manager
    The Museum at FIT

    Visit our collections online | Find us on Facebook |  Twitter |  Instagram

  • 11.  RE: The place of NFTs in the new museum pratices

    Posted 03-22-2023 05:56 AM

    Hi, Marie,

    you probably know this already, but in case you or other readers don't:

    The Belvedere Museum in Vienna produced NFTs for Gustav Klimt's famous painting "The Kiss".

    Musermerku (a prestigious blog in the German-speaking museum scene) wrote a very interesting and also critical article about this action, interviewing some of the NFT-buyers:

    The article is in German, but that shouldn't be a problem in the age of Deepl and Google. :)

    I hope this helps. Good luck with your research. 

    Rosa Sala

  • 12.  RE: The place of NFTs in the new museum pratices

    Posted 04-11-2023 11:08 AM
    Edited by Anh Nguyen 04-11-2023 11:11 AM

    Hi Marie,

    It is very interesting that you are doing research in this space. I'd love to connect and chat more as I have been speaking with many museums about the application of NFTs over the past year.

    By way of introduction, I am the Founder & CEO of Nimi. We are a culture tech startup working with museums and cultural institutions globally to devise and implement digital collectibles as an additional source of earned revenue for museums and a new way to engage with millennials and younger generations. You can read more about our approaches at At Nimi, we advocate for a mission-driven approach that leverages NFTs as a tool for museums to cultivate a deeper relationship with the next generation of cultural patrons, creating a pathway for digital-first and younger audiences to support these institutions. In our opinion, NFTs offered by museums should be more than just a limited edition digital print. They can be a verifiable and transferrable membership certificate; they have the potential to help museums gamify the visitor experience, or offer a modern and dynamic alternative to traditional memberships and patron programs, etc. At the end of the day, NFT is just a technology enabler, it is up to us to leverage the technology in a way that addresses real challenges that the sector is facing.

    If you will be at the AAM Annual Meeting in Denver this year, I'd also like to add a shameless plug for a panel session that I'm hosting on this topic at 11:30am on Friday May 19th, with 3 speakers representing different museum professions and types of institutions. See details below.

    In terms of academic research, my partner recently completed a master's dissertation at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School entitled "Can Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) deliver a new model for revenue generation, brand equity, and audience engagement for Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAMs)?", in which he interviewed a few museums who have launched a NFT project in the past 18 months (e.g., Belvedere Museum, the Uffizi Gallery, the Whitworth Gallery, and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston). I would be happy to introduce you to him given your mutual research interest.

    Best regards,

    Anh Nguyen
    Founder & CEO