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Posts in category 'Museum'

9 April 2014

Tell me a story: augmented reality technology in museums

logo-chess-400

Museums around the world today face the challenge of increasing and maintaining visitor numbers, especially with younger audiences. A fall in visitors is seen by most as a negative outcome, both financially and in terms of wider social and educational impact. It can happen due to a range of factors, but one of the most important is that museums can often find themselves competing with the products of the entertainment industry, which at its heart is in the business of telling a good story.

The EU-funded Chess project (a shorter name for the much longer Cultural Heritage Experiences through Socio-personal interactions and Storytelling) plans to make interactive content such as games and augmented reality available to the entire museum sector.

“The project relies on visitor profiling, matching visitors to pre-determined “personas” – which are designed as a representative description of the various people that constitute a given museum’s visitor base. These are created through data from surveys, visitor studies and ethnographic observations. A given visitor is matched initially through a visitor survey to one of several representative personas, which in turn influences fundamentally the experience delivered by the Chess system.

Doing this makes the visitor experience non-linear. The system constantly adapts to a visitor’s preferences. For example, if a visitor fails in a game or stays longer in front of certain artefacts, the system can adapt the storyline. It makes the experience more dynamic and relevant, so instead of sending the visitor to X exhibit, the system might instead choose to send you to Y exhibit, where you will get more information that’s relevant to what you’ve shown an interest in.”

12 February 2014

The Museum of Future Government Services

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The Museum of Future Government Services, which in Dubai on the 10th of February at the UAE Government Summit, is an interactive design futures exhibition.

The Museum explores the future of travel, healthcare, education and urban services. It brings together over 80 designers, technologists and futurists from nearly 20 countries to imagine how these services could be changed for the better in the coming years.

“The first of its kind, the Museum goes far beyond written reports or special effects. It highlights real prototypes of prospective services that could be developed by the governments of tomorrow.

This approach allows visitors to interact with, experience, and enjoy future trends in a way never before possible.

The Museum of Future Government Services paints a bold and hopeful vision of what the future could be. It shows how businesses, governments, and citizenry could work together to create a world-class experience of government services. It is just one possibility among many, illustrating the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

The future is uncertain, but the work of the Museum suggests that bold vision, creative experiments and committed partnerships can build a better world.

Project partners
– Client: The Prime Minister’s Office of the United Arab Emirates
– Lead Exhibition Designer: Tellart, Providence, Rhode Island
– Lead Content Designer: Fabrica, Treviso, Italy
– Lead Creative Consultants: Superflux Studio, London, and Near Future Laboratory, Geneva
– Lead Researcher: The Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, California
– Special Advisor: Dr. Noah Raford

11 November 2013

Two new reports by ARUP

 

Designing with Data
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and ARUP have released Designing with Data: Shaping Our Future Cities, a new report that explores the massive potential role that data could have in the planning and design of our buildings and cities, reports Dexigner.
The report identifies the main approaches to working with data for those involved in designing and planning cities. Better data can offer a deep insight into people’s needs and has the potential to transform the way architects and urban planners design our built environments. This could result in cheaper experimentation and testing of designs before construction begins. It also promises the chance for greater consultation with potential users – speeding up the process, saving time and money and resulting in better and more affordable design.

Museums in the Digital Age
Museums of the future may be filled with 3D-printed replicas, green walls and sensory surfaces, according to a report by Arup (writes Wired UK).
Arup, the London engineering firm behind Japan’s planned Giant Observation Wheel, the world’s first algae-powered building and Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge, compiled the report Museums in the Digital Age with help from Central Saint Martins’ students on the MA Practice for Narrative Environments course.
The report recognises that museums now have to cater for increasingly disparate visitor groups from an aging population through to the Facebook generation, as well as an expanding global middle class which will give rise to a mass cultural boom. Through investigating the experiential requirements of each, the report suggests a number of changes to future museum design and investments.

4 July 2013

UX and The Museum: Converging perspectives on experience design

ux-and-the-museum-small

Museums visitors are no longer as satisfied with rows of objects on display. They want the objects to tell a story. They want to understand the main message of the exhibit without reading a single block of text.

Mary Oakland, User Experience Designer at The Nerdery, and Shana West, Exhibit Developer at the Science Museum of Minnesota, provide more insight.

12 April 2013

Insights from network data analysis that yield field observations

museum

As part of Ethnomining, the April 2013 Ethnographymatters edition on combining qualitative and quantitative data, edited by Nicolas Nova, Fabien Girardin describes his work with networked/sensor data at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Based on this inspiring case study, he discusses the overall process, how mixed-methods are relevant in his work, and what kind lessons he learnt doing this.

Fabien Girardin @fabiengirardin is Partner at the Near Future Laboratory, a research agency. He is active in the domains of user experience, data science and urban informatics.

12 December 2012

Designing a carsharing service that can play a truly relevant role in people’s lives

volkswagen001

Brand experience agency edenspiekermann_ and Volkswagen’s Service Innovation Team explored what it takes to define a service that would play a relevant role in people’s lives.

“We started with: Who are the people that use carsharing? How can we expand the service to exceed their expectations? How do people find, explore and adopt this new service? How can we design a service that is easy, enjoyable, useful and valuable? We mapped out and designed the customer journey along the different touchpoints of a carsharing service.

We explored every touchpoint: from the key that opens the door, to the iPhone App to find a car on the street, to the signs that indicate a reserved parking spot. We developed prototypical solutions and tested them with real users in real environments. Also, in-depth interviews brought insights into what works and what does not. We burned through thousands of post-its to record all aspects of what we learned in our tests. It was a reality check. At Edenspiekermann service design goes way beyond research. We win insights by creating refined prototypes that provide a sophisticated experience to users.”

The current commercial version of Volkswagen’s carsharing service is „Quicar“, available in Hannover.

17 September 2011

How tech is changing the museum experience

Smartphone museum
Museums are exploring digital and mobile technologies to enhance visitor experience. Initiatives go beyond technology within exhibits and installations, but also include more pervasive uses of tech to create interactive experiences for visitors throughout a museum, as well as remote experiences for those who cannot get there.

In this article on Mashable, Aliza Sherman highlights what three museums – The Smithsonian (Washington, DC, USA), The Museum of Jewish Heritage (New York, USA) and Powerhouse Museum (Sydney, Australia) – are doing to make the experience interactive, educational and engaging.

Read article

29 July 2011

Art that interacts if you interface

Talk to Me
The New York Times reviews Paola Antonelli’s “Talk to Me” show at the Museum of Modern Art.

“At its best “Talk to Me” makes you aware of how our relationship to design has become more emotional and intuitive. Ms. Antonelli points out that “we now expect objects to communicate, a cultural shift made evident when we see children searching for buttons or sensors on a new object, even when the object has no batteries or plug.”

And the show is certainly a brave undertaking for a design department that’s still strongly associated with 20th-century modernism. It’s a big step from a Corbusier chair to an iPhone, or as Ms. Antonelli puts it, “from the centrality of function to that of meaning.”

But from a viewer’s perspective MoMA’s messianic embrace of smartphones in galleries is enervating. Call me a reactionary, but I’m convinced that looking, not scanning or tweeting, is still the primary purpose of a museum visit.”

Read article

17 July 2011

Talk to Me – or interaction design as script writing

Talk to Me
In her New York Times review of Talk to Me (online journal), the latest exhibition by Paola Antonelli at the MoMA, Alice Rawsthorn describes what could be considered the essence of interaction design:

“Digital technology is enabling objects to become so complex and powerful that we now expect to interact with them. If you hand an unfamiliar object to a small child, he or she will instinctively search for buttons or sensors to operate it.

Though the same same microchips that enable things as small as smart phones to fulfill hundreds of different functions also make them more opaque. In the industrial era when form generally followed function, you could guess how to use an electronic product from its appearance. You can’t do that with a tiny digital device, which is why designers face the new challenge that Ms. Antonelli calls “script writing,” in other words, ensuring that the object can tell us how to use it.”

Read article

Make sure to also check the very rich online journal.

17 July 2011

European museums and libraries in/of the age of migration

MeLa
MeLa – European Museums and Libraries in/of the Age of Migrations – is a brand new four-year research project, funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme, which aims to delineate new approaches for museums and libraries in a context characterized by the continuous migration of people and ideas.

Its main objectives are to advance knowledge in the field and to support museum and library communities, practitioners, experts and policymakers in developing new missions and forms of museums and libraries “in the age of migration”.

During the upcoming four years the team will reflect on the role of museums and libraries, dealing with several complex and crucial issues such as history, socio-cultural and national identity, the use of new technologies and, last but not least, exhibition design and museography.

MeLa intends to define new strategies for the multi/inter/transcultural organization, conservation, exhibition and transmission of knowledge in ways and forms which reflect the conditions posed by the migrations of people, cultures, ideas, information and knowledge in the global world. It aims to evaluate how much these changes can interfere with the physical structures and the architecture of the exhibition places.

The project is coordinated by the Politecnico di Milano, and also involves the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (Denmark), the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italy), the University of Glasgow (UK), the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (Spain), the Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle (France), the Royal College of Art (UK), Newcastle University (UK), and L’ “Orientale”, University of Naples (Italy).

Check also the MeLa project blog and their first newsletter.

17 March 2011

Social media, internet, technology and museums

Museuma
The New York Times has published no less than eight articles at once on the topic of social media, internet, technology and museums. Note the article about the Arduino!

Speaking digitally about exhibits
Museums around the world now use social media for marketing and development efforts, and to strengthen relationships with visitors.

The spirit of sharing
Social media technology has created new opportunities for museums to create interactivity inside and outside of their walls. [...] While museums have long strived to be welcoming places as well as havens of learning, social media is turning them into virtual community centers.

Four to follow
Several of the people who help lead some of the most innovative museum Web sites found their path serendipitously.

Stopping to gaze and to zoom
The Google Art Project lets users virtually visit museums, and 17 works are on display in super-high resolution for zooming and marveling.

Smithsonian uses social media to expand Its mission
The museums increasingly use the public to help research and add personal touches to history.

An interactive exhibit for about $30
A tiny programmable computer, the Arduino, has brought the price of interactivity down sharply in the last few years for museums and galleries.

Multimedia tour guides on your smartphone
Museums are increasingly using smartphone apps to enhance the experiences of visitors.

Social media as inspiration and canvas
Mining Vimeo, YouTube and Flickr, artists and museums use social sites to provide a direct link to their audiences.

2 December 2010

Creating informal learning environments

Creative World
In the field of exhibition design, the quality of User Experience makes the difference between success and failure. When designing exhibits for museums or science centers, exhibition designers consider interaction, experience, interface and, critically, environment.

Cheryl Downes McCoy of Cooper considers how we construct the settings in which learning happens. Part of this is about thoughtful design, she says, but much of it is about creating an appropriate space and then getting out of the way.

Here are her suggestions

5 August 2010

Design for social change and the museum

Bellagio symposium
From April 12 through April 14, 2010, 22 designers, historians, curators, educators and journalists met at Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center on Lake Como, in Italy, to discuss the museum’s role in the 21st century in relation to design for social change.

Participants (including Paolo Antonelli, Andrew Blauvelt, Allan Chochinov and John Thackara) from a spectrum of institutions in 11 countries engaged in a far-ranging and illuminating conversation.

Design Observer’s William Drenttel and Change Observer’s Julie Lasky have written an extensive report on this symposium sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation and organized by Winterhouse Institute.

Here are the key conclusions (copied from the abstract):

  1. The museum can be a collective commons for learning, reflection and critical action, as well as a platform for delivering information and provocation and a stage for learning, social connectedness and critical action. The museum as commons is not only an exhibition space but also a civic arena where people can reflect on the importance and efficacy of social change.
  2. Museums need to move beyond the object so that social design exhibitions are more than concrete displays. In that sense, design should be regarded as a tool for improving life and fostering participatory engagement and social activism.
  3. Museums should be a place where “wicked,” or seemingly intractable social problems of global scope, are addressed — a shared space in which diverse stakeholders can participate in solutions.
  4. The curator’s role may have to evolve and broaden to include skills germane to the complexity of issues around social change and innovation.
  5. Traditional museums can learn from other institutions and organizations that champion design as an agent of social change by stimulating, honoring and publicizing specific achievements on an international platform.

Read report

28 July 2010

Rem Koolhaas, the Hermitage and the design of innovative experiences

Hermitage
On the way to celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2014, the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg (formerly the Winter Palace of the Russian czars) hired legendary architect Rem Koolhaas to modernize the art museum experience for visitors in a way that both respects the storied history of the Hermitage and also positions the museum as a leader of 21st century innovation. As part of the reconsideration of the museum’s structure and function, Koolhaas is operating under a very rigid ground rule: no new structure will be put up, nor will any part of the existing architecture be modified.

Read article

5 May 2010

Bill Moggridge blogs

Bill Moggridge
Bill Moggridge, the legendary industrial and interaction designer, IDEO co-founder and now director of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, started his own blog, Bill’s blog.

It reads like his working notes, though very well written, and gives you a fascinating insight into the thought process of a brilliant man.

Just enjoy.

23 July 2009

Literature review on museums and libraries in a digital age

 
The Futures of Learning blog, which is associated with a MacArthur Foundation project, just completed an extensive literature review, conducted as part of the project, Inspiring the Technological Imagination: Museums and Libraries in a Digital Age.

The work discussed in this literature review seeks to answer the question how institutions might change to take advantage of the learning opportunities provided by new digital media, and sets out to contribute to the development of a field in new media and learning by focusing on the role of museums and libraries as part of distributed learning networks.

The series comes at the closure of a just completed literature review on New Media Practices in International Contexts, covering the unique characteristics of digital media user behaviours in very different socio-cultural contexts of China, Korea, India, Brazil, Japan and Ghana, with a particular interest in the intersection of youth, new media and learning.

The research was directed by Anne Balsamo, PI. The blog postings were authored by her and other members of the research team: Cara Wallis, Maura Klosterman, and Susana Bautista (University of Southern California).

Here are the contributions:

20 May 2009

Museums and libraries in a digital age

 
The Futures of Learning blog, which is associated with a MacArthur Foundation project, just announced a new blog series that reports on the literature review conducted as part of the project, Inspiring the Technological Imagination: Museums and Libraries in a Digital Age.

Funded by the MacArthur Foundation as part of the Digital Media and Learning initiative, this project addresses one of the four key questions that defines the initiative: How might institutions change to take advantage of the learning opportunities provided by new digital media?

The work discussed in this literature review seeks to contribute to the development of a field in new media and learning by focusing on the role of museums and libraries as part of distributed learning networks.

The series comes at the closure of a just completed literature review on New Media Practices in International Contexts, covering the unique characteristics of digital media user behaviours in very different socio-cultural contexts of China, Korea, India, Brazil, Japan and Ghana, with a particular interest in the intersection of youth, new media and learning.

The research was directed by Anne Balsamo, PI. The blog postings will be authored by her and other members of the research team: Cara Wallis, Maura Klosterman, and Susana Bautista (University of Southern California).

Over the next six to eight weeks, Anne Balsamo and her research team will address the following topics:

8 January 2008

Museum 2.0

Museum 2.0
The Museum 2.0 blog explores the ways that the philosophies of Web 2.0 can be applied in museums to make them more engaging, community-based, vital elements of society.

Just like Web 2.0 which is “a definition of web-based applications with an ‘architecture of participation,’ that is, one in which users generate, share, and curate the content”, says Nina Simon who is behind the Museum 2.0 blog, “museums have the potential to undergo a similar (r)evolution as that on the web, to transform from static content authorities to dynamic platforms for content generation and sharing.”

“I believe that visitors can become users, and museums central to social interactions. Web 2.0 opens up opportunity, but it also demonstrates where museums are lacking. The intention of this blog is to explore these opportunities and shortcomings with regard to museums and interactive design.”

(via IdeaFestival)

9 October 2007

Is there a future for old-fashioned museums?

Newseum
“Is there a future for old-fashioned museums?” is the rather outlandish title of an otherwise good Washington Post article about the future of museums in the age of networked computers and virtual worlds.

“As the Newseum puts the finishing touches on its new building in downtown Washington, a second version of the museum of news is being developed for the online society Second Life.

This novel way to experience a museum [...] raises questions about the very future of museums. Indeed, it can make one ponder whether all those granite and limestone mausoleums that litter Washington have a future at all.

In the age of the networked computer, museums are being fundamentally challenged in the same ways that other bastions of education and entertainment — from libraries to the music industry — are being rocked to their cores.

The arguments swirl. Are museums in the bone-and-pigment business, reliquaries of the past? Are they in the theater business, telling stories through sensational lighting, presentations like stage sets and costumed interpretive actors? Are museums in the experience business, forced to reach for ever fancier gizmos and blockbusters to compete with the sports world and Disney for family time and money?”

It seems to me that new media usually don’t replace old ones but just provide an alternative experience. Just like television didn’t kill the radio, and movies didn’t kill the theatre, virtual worlds will not remove the need for real museums. They will just provide an alternative window into their collections and the story they are telling.

And in the end, that’s what the author thinks too. I recommend you to read the conclusions of the article.

Read full story

28 September 2007

Turning museums into places where people interact

Local Projects
Print Magazine is reporting on Local Projects, a company that is turning museums into places where people interact with information—and each other.

When Jake Barton, the 34-year-old principal of the interactive design firm Local Projects, thinks about what an exhibition can do, he often considers the District Six Museum in Cape Town, South Africa. The museum documents the forced removal of more than 60,000 residents from a mixed-race neighborhood declared a whites-only zone in 1966, and tells the stories of those displaced. In the early ’90s, when reclaiming that land was still not an option, the museum kept the issue in the public eye through exhibitions and debate; subsequently, the museum’s sister organization helped residents apply to have their land returned. Transforming and healing a community through inclusive storytelling is, in Barton’s eyes, the mandate for museums of the 21st century. These days, he has ample reason to meditate on it: In April, he and his seven-person firm received the commission to codesign the permanent exhibition for the World Trade Center Memorial Museum.”

By choosing Local Projects, the memorial’s directors cast their lot with a new kind of museum that prizes interactivity over top-down presentation. Local Projects insists on a plurality of voices—the exhibitions it creates function as a kind of conversation rather than as repositories of authoritative fact. “Museums are starting to evolve into agents of social change,” Barton says. “That’s being reflected in the numbers of people who are going to museums and the ways museums are functioning as spaces for community dialogue. We [are] trying to make diverse people visible to each other through a storytelling space.”

Read full story