The report is about trends in using digital technologies in museum education and interpretation. It was conducted by the New Media Consortium (NMC) and Balboa Park Online Collaborative (BPOC) in collaboration with 40 international expert panel members.
The New Media Consortium (NMC) is a community of universities, colleges, museums, and research centres that promotes and explores use of digital technologies for learning and creativity. The NMC ( was founded in 1993 by a group of hardware manufacturers, software developers (Apple Computer, Adobe Systems, Macromedia, and Sony) and publishers. The NMC Horizon Project was launched in 2002 and the first report (higher education) was released in 2004. The Museum Edition of the Horizon Reports has been running since 2010. All content is published under a Creative Commons license.
The 2015 report was a great source for the Technological Trends chapter of the Interpret Europe’s (2016) European trends and developments affecting heritage interpretation. The last year’s report is available via
The 2016 report contains 58 pages and is divided into three main topics:

  1. Key trends
  2. Significant challenges
  3. Important developments

Each topic is discussed within three different horizons in terms of time to adoption or solvability (challenges). The content is enriched with numerous successful examples of technology use in museums.

Topics from the 2016 report:
1. Key Trends Accelerating Technology Adoption in Museums
Long-Term Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in museums for five or more years 

  • Cross-Institution Collaboration
  • New Roles for Museum Professionals

Mid-Term Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in museums for three to five years

  • Data Analytics for Museum Operations
  • Personalisation

Short-Term Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in museums for the next one to two years 

  • Mobile Content and Delivery
  • Participatory Experiences

2. Significant Challenges Impeding Technology Adoption in Museums
Solvable Challenges: Those that we understand and know how to solve

  • Developing Effective Digital Strategies
  • Improving Digital Literacy of Museum Professionals

Difficult Challenges: Those that we understand but for which solutions are elusive

  • Improving Accessibility for Disabled Populations
  • Measuring the Impact of New Technologies

Wicked Challenges: Those that are complex to even define, much less address 

  • Managing Knowledge Obsolescence
  • Privacy Concerns

3. Important Developments in Technology for Museum Education and Interpretation
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less  

  • Digital Humanities Technologies
  • Makerspaces

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years

  • Location Intelligence
  • Virtual Reality 

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years

  • Information Visualisation
  • Networked Objects

The NMC Horizon Report: 2016 Museum Edition can be downloaded as PDF via  Quotation: Freeman,  A.,  Adams  Becker,  S.,  Cummins,  M.,  McKelroy,  E.,  Giesinger,  C.,  Yuhnke,  B.  (2016) NMC  Horizon  Report: 2016 Museum Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Dr Kaja Antlej is a researcher and designer interested in 3D and other digital technologies in heritage interpretation. She is a Lecturer of Industrial Design at the School of Engineering, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia. You can get in touch with her through

To cite this article:
Antlej, K. (2016) ‘New Media Consortium horizon report: 2016 museum edition’. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 2-2016, 19

Available online: