Family Time in Museums: An In-Gallery Mobile Game


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Family Time in Museums: Online or Unplugged?

At the movie theater we see repeated messages about no texting or talking—what about museums? While some museums ban personal devices, others embrace them. What does research tell us about personal devices as they affect learning? What turns these devices on or off: visitors’ ages, educational levels, learning styles? How are museum educators approaching this contested area? A learning specialist, a museum educator, and a museum technologist present diverse viewpoints, leading to a lively moderated discussion. This presentation was given by Susan Edwards.

Moderator: Alice Parman, Independent Interpretive Planner
Presenters: Paul Gabriel, Educational Consultant/Educational Therapist, Independent
Emily Hope Dobkin, Youth Programs Manager, Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
Susan Edwards, Senior Writer/Editor, Web Group, J. Paul Getty Trust

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Family Time in Museums: An In-Gallery Mobile Game

  1. 1. An In-Gallery Mobile Game at the J. Paul Getty Museum Susan Edwards J. Paul Getty Trust @jolifanta
  2. 2. Mantra Don’t build a mobile app just for the sake of it
  3. 3. How many of you have heard this? “We need an app!”
  4. 4. How many of you have heard this? “We need an app!”
  5. 5. Have Goals Meet the needs of your visitors Is technology the right tool?
  6. 6. GettyGames
  7. 7. Switch
  8. 8. Have Goals Meet the needs of your visitors Is technology the right tool?
  9. 9. Educational Objective: Encourage families to have fun looking at art together in the galleries
  10. 10. Paper edition
  11. 11. The Goals • Provide visit planning for families • Un-facilitated • Gameplay = 20-25 minutes The tool chosen  Mobile web (Pilot project)
  12. 12. Benefits of Mobile Technology • • • • Easily updated and edited No printing costs (but development cost) Any visitor with a smart phone can play Provides interactivity
  13. 13. Challenges of Mobile Technology • Visitors don’t look at the exhibition • Visitors don’t know the app exists • Visitors don’t use it because it doesn’t work for them
  14. 14. Opposing Fears Visitors will ignore the exhibition Visitors won’t play the game
  15. 15. Balance the experience of the game with the experience of visiting the museum.
  16. 16. Balance
  17. 17. Common Problems with in-gallery mobile • • • • • • • Visitors get lost Visitors get frustrated High rate of early drop-off Visitors are head-down in their phones We make it too complicated We don’t provide added value We don’t test and iterate enough
  18. 18. Don’t make any assumptions! Test everything!
  19. 19. Lessons for Success
  20. 20. Build looking into the app Images: J. Paul Getty Museum
  21. 21. Understand your audience
  22. 22. Make it relevant to the museum experience
  23. 23. Give visitors ownership
  24. 24. Balance
  25. 25. “It was just what I was looking for – something to increase my son’s focus on the artworks during the museum visit.”
  26. 26. Parent to child: “Do you see something else next to the teapot?”
  27. 27. “My brother usually hates our regular museum visits. This time, I saw him engaged for the first time.”
  28. 28. The Experience • High number of players finish the game • Close looking observed in evaluation • Gives families a place to start in the museum • Empowers parents to start conversation about the art • Young players feel ownership of the museum and the artworks
  29. 29. Mantra Don’t build a mobile app just for the sake of it
  30. 30. Mantra Understand your audience
  31. 31. Susan Edwards J. Paul Getty Trust @jolifanta