Museum Notes

thanks to Kelly Crawford and Susan Myrland for their help with these notes. Send ideas, suggestions and corrections to joe@artlung.com




Also asking about this here http://ask.metafilter.com/170550/Mobile-Apps-for-Museums




Interesting post by Sarah Dines: http://travelandcultureapps.com/2010/10/03/in-praise-of-the-humble-audio-guide/#comment-44

So why haven't museum apps delivered the kind of meaningful experiences that their precursors [i.e. audio tours] did, and still do? It seems to be a combination of things:

  1. the internal museum teams responsible for museum apps tend to be more tech/feature focused than content/experience focused
  2. museum teams responsible for apps have not adopted the concept that content and the content/in-museum experience is primary, and
  3. too many museum professionals are looking for their 15 minutes of fame

A nice summary on Mashable about their picks for historic mobile tours: http://mashable.com/2010/09/26/mobile-apps-historical-tours/


Q: So when thinking about the experience of a museum, how is that approached? I'm familiar with experience design for software or maybe retail, how do you prioritize the various things you want to do -- communicate, entertain, educate? what's a good source for planning an exhibit, or for evaluating the success of an exhibit?

A: There is no short answer. You want to educate and entertain as well as frame the experience (make it comfortable & accessible) and try to engage so that there just isn't a transfer of information, but make it so that people feel like participants and see themselves reflected in the exhibit.

I think the best example of a truly successful exhibit is the Holocaust Museum's permanent exhibit. It doesn't matter who you are, you are moved by that exhibit -- they have created a rich experience for the visitor.

Getting back to the mobile device -- There was a lot of talk at one point about creating a device where the visitor could collect and share his/her experience at the museum(s). A kind of be your own curator type thing. I thought that was very intriguing, especially if you could learn more about the objects and their history latter when you got home and be able to share your collection with your friends and family maybe even add pictures of you at SI.


the theme behind this conference reminded me that there's tons of stuff out there on "enhancing museum-goers experience" -- it's a heavily-researched field

http://www.learningtimes.net/bpcp/


From Susan:

Aside: do you have any opinions on the use of technology in art museums?

Indianapolis Museum of Art has done some ground-breaking stuff with their dashboard: http://dashboard.imamuseum.org/

A company called Collectrium demo'd an iPhone app at Art San Diego, but it was clunky & didn't go over well. I'd recommend thinking of tech in broader terms than just apps. Not every museum-goer will have an iPhone.

For your radar screen: http://www.artmarketmonitor.com/2010/11/12/art-sy-starts-a-frenzy-raises-questions/


From: H-Net/NCPH Discussion List on Public History [mailto:H-PUBLIC@H-NET.MSU.EDU] On Behalf Of H-Public editors
Sent: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 10:52 PM
To: H-PUBLIC@H-NET.MSU.EDU
Subject: Food for Thought: iPhone App to Create Historical Walking Tours: Beta Testers Wanted

iPhone App to Create Historical Walking Tours: Beta Testers Wanted

Donald Davis and Peter Grand are collaborating on a new iPhone app.*
The app allows the user (i.e. you) to create and distribute walking
tours using only the tools on the iPhone. Since the app is at the beta
stage, they are looking for people with iPhones who would like to give
the app a try.

Here's how it works. Once you have the beta license (see below), you
open the app. A Google-type map appears and, since the iPhone knows
where you are, it zooms down to your current location. Let's say this
is Washington Square Park in New York. If you developed a tour that
surveys the area, this would give you a chance to speak about the
local native American village of Sapokanikan on the banks of the
Hudson; if you wanted to talk about African American history, you
could note that the "Little Africa" just south of the Square grew up
around early farms of free blacks; labor history would touch on the
Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire two blocks away and its effect on
workplace safety; Gay history could touch on the Stonewall Riots;
cultural history could touch on novelists (Henry James), playwrights
(Eugene O'Neill), music (Almanac Singers, Dylan, jazz greats); and so
on. Or you could choose to probe more deeply into any of these
subjects.

With the app open, you go to a Create tab to make the first stop on
the tour. You gave the stop a title. You can take a picture using the
iPhone (or soon, upload historical pictures free of copyright) that
will be attached to the stop. And you can speak into the iPhone like a
tape recorder. (It is probably best if you work from a prepared text,
although some may be able to do this extemporaneously.) You can add
whatever text you like. Now, with a title, a picture, text, and audio,
you have a complete stop and can upload it to the server directly from
your iPhone. The app allows you to group a series of stops together
into a single, coherent tour.

Once you have uploaded the tour stops to the server, they are viewable
and downloadable to anyone else in the world with the app. Ubiquity
will be a crucial aspect of the app. As more people start to use it,
you will be able to go anywhere, open up the app, and (due to the
wonders of GPS) see the tours that are available in the vicinity. You
can download them on the spot and start taking the tour immediately.
The GPS guides the person taking the tour from stop to stop.

What kind of walking tours are they looking for? Imagine that you are
in New York, or Nashville, or Naples. Who do you most wish you had at
your elbow, dragging you along, and telling you about everything that
you should know about the place? Imagine the tour they would give you.
Or, stated simply, create the tour you wish you could take.

Technical stuff. Since this is in beta, there are a limited number of
initial licenses, and the tours will initially be viewable only to
those with a license. That said, they are looking forward to a Version
1.0 launch later this summer, at which point it will be downloadable
to anyone through the Apple app store. They do plan to make it
available on other platforms (iPad, Android, etcetera) later. Tours
will initially be free. In the future, they contemplate developing a
version in which some tours may have a fee to download and in which
the producers of tours will be able to earn money based on downloads
of their paid tours.

Mobile technology is evolving very fast and this is the first
application dedicated to allowing the user to create walking tours. So
hopefully it will be educational, fun, and maybe even a little
exciting. If you are interested in being a beta tester, you can write
to me at fitz@stolaf.edu or directly to Donald Davis at
draydavis@gmail.com

* Donald Davis is a Professor of Economics at Columbia University.
* Peter Grand is President of Peter Grand, Inc, and has been
developing software for nearly twenty-five years.
http://www.armstrong.edu/Liberal_Arts/history/history_ella_howard

Sent: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 10:25 PM
Subject: Two more SI mobile launches! NPM Mobile & GoSmithsonian Trek

They're coming fast & thick now!

Today the Postal Museum launched their mobile website:
http://npm.si.edu/mobile AND GoSmithsonian launched its mobile
SCVNGR game, the GoSmithsonian Trek around 9 SI sites on the Mall:
The Smithsonian Castle, the National Museum of the American Indian,
the Smithsonian African Art Museum, the National Air and Space
Museum, the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery, the National Museum
of American History, the National Museum of Natural History, and the
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden!

The Postal Museum was one of my first loves at the Smithsonian. I
was drawn there initially because of their early multimedia tour
(ca. 2004/5 as I recall? - pre-SIGuide), which turned out to be one
of the best in the industry at the time. I soon discovered why: the
Museum's smart & creative team really knew how to lead visitors in
by making them feel welcome and relaxed, and then surprise and
delight them with all the amazing stories that follow out of US
Postal History. In other words: their focus wasn't on the
technology, but on the content and the user experience. The Postal
Museum's mobile website sits squarely within this great NPM
tradition: it is a portal into the essential info that a mobile
visitor needs when out & about, but also links through to deeper
content on the Museum's main website for those who want to know
more. A very nice balance, and don't miss the Ben Franklin video!

Many at SI have been testing SCVNGR in recent months, and Saturday
offers an opportunity to really see how this mobile game works
around the Mall. From 10-2pm you can play against some of the
brightest and most energetic young minds in DC. Check-in 9:30 a.m.
At the Castle, and bring your friends  THEY (not SI staff) may win
an iPad! You will be able to see images and maps during the course
of the game, send pictures and share your adventures of playing the
game with your friends.

It's free to play: just download the SCVNGR app from the iPhone App
Store

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scvngr/id323248984?mt=8iPhone or Android Market http://www.android.com/market/#app=com.epocrates.

Choose "goSmithsonian" from the "Trek" menu. Be sure to RSVP: http://youngbenefactors.org/ticketing/tickets/reserve.aspx?performanceNumber=220865


Taubman Art Center Beliefs:


Tate Trumps http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/33450/app-of-day-tate-trumps

Tate Trumps uses the Tate Modern's Wi-Fi connection to activate the game
whereby you have to virtually collect pieces of art from within the
gallery. Unfortunately you do this by typing in a code that is
associated with the piece rather than by using augmented reality or
anything like that. But it's still pretty interactive never-the-less.

Up to three players can play and the aim is to collect art that you
think would out-Trump your opponents in one of three different game
categories - battle, mood or collect. You collect seven pieces of art
and no two players can select the same piece, so get your running shoes
on and your map at the ready if your targeting a particular piece.

When you meet up with your opponents later on, you simply pit your
selected works against them in the time honoured Trumps tradition. If
you don't agree that your piece should have been outdone by another's
then you can even make a complaint via the app to the Tate Trumps team.

The app is free, and, could add a bit of fun to your Tate Modern outing.
Get it from the app store now, but remember, you need to actually go to
the Tate for it to work. Tate Trumps uses the Tate Modern's Wi-Fi
connection to activate the game whereby you have to virtually collect
pieces of art from within the gallery. Unfortunately you do this by
typing in a code that is associated with the piece rather than by using
augmented reality or anything like that. But it's still pretty
interactive never-the-less.

Up to three players can play and the aim is to collect art that you
think would out-Trump your opponents in one of three different game
categories - battle, mood or collect. You collect seven pieces of art
and no two players can select the same piece, so get your running shoes
on and your map at the ready if your targeting a particular piece.

When you meet up with your opponents later on, you simply pit your
selected works against them in the time honoured Trumps tradition. If
you don't agree that your piece should have been outdone by another's
then you can even make a complaint via the app to the Tate Trumps team.

The app is free, and, could add a bit of fun to your Tate Modern outing.
Get it from the app store now, but remember, you need to actually go to
the Tate for it to work.

Collated by Joe Crawford http://artlung.com/ joe@artlung.com. Feedback is welcome.