Building Shared Guardianship through Blockchain Technology and Digital Museum Objects

Frances Liddell


This article considers the notion of shared guardianship in the context of digital museum objects and blockchain technology, arguing that this technology can contribute to the production of value in digital museum objects that goes beyond the monetary. Shared guardianship is understood to be a process of prioritizing the experience of others and forming a diverse set of stakeholders that transforms understandings around ownership; meanwhile, a blockchain is a type of distributed ledger technology which can be used to identify digital files and so make them feel ownable and authentic. As such, this paper argues that blockchain technology could create a new layer of materiality and value in digital museum objects which could support the formation of shared guardianship. This question will be analysed in relation to the theoretical underpinnings of digital materiality and a case study project at the National Museums Liverpool, UK, which investigated how to implement blockchain technology in the museum context in order to produce collective ownership and meaningful, connected digital objects.


blockchain; digital materiality; authenticity; value

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Copyright (c) 2021 Frances Liddell

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360

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