Three years ago, when we started the project we are sharing with you today, we didn´t know about transmedia theories. Not even had heard about Henry Jenkins!.
What we knew is that if we wanted to share stories with young people in the museum, we would have to go to many places and learn a lot. We had some ideas about what education should be and a strong cross-media storytelling background.
We observed that museum media strategies all over the world were becoming more and more diversified. Museums are branding cultural products as documentaries, apps or even toys. Some of the cultural products are created by the institution itself, others are only inspired-by and developped by firms with its approval . The Smithsonian, a museum of many museums can be a paradigmatic example: with a broad range of magazines, documentaries, youtube channels, and a bunch of apps for mobile devices developped by them or in partnership with firms like Oceanhouse Media. Nancy Proctor, the head of Mobile Strategy and Initiatives of the Smithsonian Institution is an authority on digital engagement and, as we should expect, shares in internet many interesting resources: @nancyproctor
As you probably know, the Smithsonian and its objects were brought to life in a Hollywood feature film: A Night in the Museum (and in its sequel). The Smithsonian created a webpage with a downloadable map of the “artifacts that inspired the movie”. http://www.gosmithsonian.com/nightatthemuseummovie/ showing its awareness of cultural creativity and the intertwinings between the plots of the film and of the museum.
This is how we understand museums. We share the view of Nina Simon and her participatory museum: Museum 2.0. http://www.participatorymuseum.org/ And we think that the “social museum” and the “inclusive museum” are the logical consequences of this concept.
And this is what we considered worth mimicking for expanding museum contents for the kids. Sesame Street was in our mind as a reference from our childhood . Many years later, we discovered their achievements helping children not only to learn facts but to improve their social competence, tolerance of diversity, etc. It was not a big surprise that the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, the research center named after the TV show producer and created by her, did this report about transmedia and learning “T is for transmedia”: http://www.joanganzcooneycenter.org/publication/t-is-for-transmedia/ written by Becky Herr-Stephenson and Meryl Alper. The authors say “Through immersive, interconnected, and dynamic narratives, transmedia engages multiple literacies, including textual, visual, and media literacies, as well as multiple intelligences. It is highly engaging and allows for important social sharing among collaborators”
So we were going to try to engage children in the museum. Museums and its artifacts can be expanded in unsuspected ways but when the brand of the museum is involved, veracity is a must. Museums are committed with this convention that we call reality to a bold extent. This rubber duck is an example: the customizable rubber duck toy designers had to cut the horns of this viking duck sold in the British Museum in order to be more accurate to historical truth (Vikings helmet didn´t have horns).
In our benchmarking process we discovered some interesting uses of youtube channels by museums to deliver pieces of their “branded content” to children. Here we show you two different examples: the Brain Scoop is a webserie where a young girl, Emily Graslie explores the Field Museum scientific collections in a very active and involved way (she even performs forensic practices). On the other hand, Know your Nelson is a very polite serie with some quizz-style scripts. Starring is Alfie, a character created by the Royal Museums Greenwich and performed by a lovely boy dressed as a royal navy officer. We have to outline that three years ago Alfie hadn´t been born yet because it has some resemblances with our mascot.
Here we have a pinterest board with Museum mascots. They can be artifacts that have become the visitor´s favourites, as William in the MET (actually a hippopotamus Egyptian blue statuette). Or exterior elements of the museum, as Puppy, the Guggenheim´s mascot in Bilbao or animals like Owney, the dog which is the American Postal Service mascot. Can you spot any museum mascot you know in the board?
Being linked to the brand mascots are a good merchandisng theme, but let me read just a few words of Jonathan Gray in his book Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts and you may not disdain them as learning tools. Gray says: “Whereas cultural critics have long seen licensed toys as a particularly egregious instance of mindless and manipulative consumerism, I argue that the toys became a viable source of the text, framing and intensifying many of the films themes...”
And of course museum mascots are eager to engage in the digital realm. In Twitter this can be quite interesting, when the Kalamazoo Valley Museum mascot, a Mummy interacts with Maurice the Miner, the mascot of the National Coal Mining Museum. I have to say that particularly these mascots seem to interact more between them than with the public but we have other more succesful mascots as Miguelón, the Atapuerca mascot.
Paratexts are elements that interpretate texts as literary theorist Gérard Gennet defined. In a literary context mascots could be considered paratexts. And these images here could be too paratexts. These are some examples of memes where works of art have been remixed in popular and complex formulae to be delivered in social media. User generated content usually have a more relaxed approach than the institutional, and some institutions are more encouraging than others towards this participation.
Being reflective and even self-reflective as they are supposed to be, museums are trying to understand what the selfies (pictures taken by oneself) mean in the museum. There´s a web collecting this selfies: http://museumselfies.tumblr.com/ by Allie Burness just in case someone wants to help in the research.
Now we have to talk about the hypotext, or the world we had to expand: the Museo Naval in Madrid. On this institution we shall highlight that hosts an incredible collection, with at least an artifact relevant worldwide: the first map of America, Juan de la Cosa´s Chart, dated in 1500. Juan de la Cosa was the skipper of the Santa María, a learned man who expressed in his chart the geographical discoveries of his time, and, besides, a rich late-medieval iconograpy.The Museo Naval is a national museum, dependent on the Spanish Defense Ministry. One of its mission statements is “to serve as a tool of communication and education of the Spanish Maritime History to safeguard its traditions and to promote the national maritime awareness”. When we started the Chronos project we were thinking in two different young audiences: those who were enrolled in the museum activities and those who were potetial visitors and would came with their families by themselves.
Since the beginning we knew that we would tell stories but that we would also listen to kids. We were ready to let children ellaborate their own stories, fostering their imagination. And the first thing we had to do was creating a character. Thats where our team, Wunderkammer, started to work.
We rely on visually attractive characters who also have an interesting inner life! Storytelling is our strong point.
This portrait of a boy in a cabin imitation in the museum was our inspiration for the mascot. Telmo is an alter ego of this boy, much later we discovered it was to be the king Alfonso XII
<number> We were inspired too by Jules Verne and his novels. We dived in the world of underwater travels and time machines. Steampunk aesthetic also was very appealing to us.
On the plot we shall say that the travel time is a very known hypotext that is used by museums as the British in its last game and also by transmedia edition houses as Scholastic (Infinity Ring is a serie of books, games and apps).
<number> In the Museum the communication team thought Telmo was ok but suggested some changes: one of the shells in the head was from an Earth snail! It had to be a sea snail and we changed it. Do you remember the viking duck in the British Museum? The uniform also was turned into blue and white. The astrolabe map was considered a complex tool and concept here and rejected. The fish-shaped submarine (Monturiol style) was changed into a spacecraft.
And here we have the unfolded brochure with the map who is like a control panel or a GPS now. The cover is in the middle and Chronos, Telmo´s spacecraft is opposed to the training ship Juan Sebastián Elcano. Our target are advanced readers and their families. We didn´t want a too childish aesthetic and we chosed strong and dark colours.
In the other side of the brochure we have seven games that shorlist the museums collection. In the games you can find information of the artifacts and several puzzles.
The museo naval family friendly adventure tour was an autoguided tour that improved accesibility of kids and families to the exhibition and to the institution, shortlisting key artifacts in a large collection.
Then we had the idea of creating a game that could be played in a mobile device. Samsung believed in our project and thanks to this, we developped the application “Chronos”in partnership with the Museo Naval.
<number> The app has keep the colours and the aesthetic experience of the brochure. That allows some recycling! We had to work with resolutions and formats, which in Samsung is something big because there are many different phones and tablets.
We used Corona, a SDK that allows to create native apps for Android and iOs with a single development, though our app is only available in the Samsung store by now.
<number> Here you can see the cover of the brochure and the cover of the app game.
<number> This are some of the games inspired by the games we have developped in the paper brochure. The novelty was Telmo, who was animated. We had also music composed for the games.
<number> We designed this dentity card, to welcome the kids and to invite them to be part of the game. You can customize it. You can also use the pen Samsung wanted us to promote.
To sum up, in our project for the Museo Naval we just threw the dice!: The storytelling dice
As a result we got some gamification
Some drama and some artcraft
And a hook to talk to historical characters.
Not everybody likes games
But we think they have a great engaging power and a big potential in museums. This game is an example. It was developped by the Thought Den in the National Museums Scotland.
And this scarvenger hut in the British Museum.
As Ghost of a chance proved in the Smithsonian, museums are also a good place for augmented reality games. Our ARG plot was around the resolution of a misterious forecast supposedly made by Torres Villarroel three centuries ago and recovered in a youtube film. The scientific mind of Jorge Juan helped the kids to discover the truth through different puzzles in the museum.
We believe in kids
We have seen them making amazing things, as in here, making a documentary in the Rastro.
We know that in some museums children are empowered through digital tools, that is the case of the British Museum Discovery Centre, where kids have a very active role playing, mixing and creating with software
Toontastic, Voicethread, iStopMotion y Silent Film Director: this are some awesome apps for storytelling with kids in the museum that transmedia kids would need.
So we have created Wunderkammer Apps to do all these things.
And we enjoy the work of others that are doing great things in the field of transmedia and located based games, that´s the case of this project launched by Arte Channel that is a film on the building of Strasbourg cathedral, a based located game and audioguide and a web game that is a fake architecture contest.
Chronos: a transmedia educational project at the Museo Naval in Madrid
Chronos: a transmedia educational project at the Museo Naval in Madrid
Head of Mobile
Strategy and Initiatives
-non formal education centre
-content platform, fostering
participation and creation
-brander of cultural products
on-line and off-line
“We believe that transmedia has the potential to be a valuable tool for
expanded learning that addresses some of the most pressing
challenges facing education today. Through immersive,
interconnected, and dynamic narratives, transmedia engages multiple
literacies, including textual, visual, and media literacies, as well as
multiple intelligences. It is highly engaging and allows for important
social sharing among collaborators”.
The Joan Ganz Cooney Center
YOUNG PEOPLE MUSEUM´S
WEBSERIES IN YOUTUBE:
THE BRAIN SCOOP (FIELD
KNOW YOUR NELSON (ROYAL
+They’re fun. It’s like hearing
from a knowledgeable, witty
friend who just happens to be
extinct and living in an
+Look smart. On Facebook
and Twitter, it’s pretty easy to
see who your friends follow.
In addition to following
celebrities and news outlets,
impress your contacts by
flaunting your friendship with
a T-rex or blobfish.
Museum´s Mascot´s Day
Erin Blasco http://
A suggestive character
born to be remixed and
expanded and a teaser:
the time travel.
+Kids in the Armada:
+The misterious gaze of a
+A time traveller: captain
Telmo and Chronos
The map has been central in the entire
project: it is a located game
Evolution of the character
Red Head, linking
bioluminscent in the
deep blue see
with San Telmo fire
helm to sail in time
In the future man and
nature will live in a
Logo of the
captain in the Armada
and with a starring blue vest
Blue Vest that´s the
Blue Vest that´s the
corporative colour of
corporative colour of
Museo Naval family
friendly adventure tour
The mascot is a
stories about the
KIDS AND FAMILY
TO THE EXHIBITIONS
AND TO THE
New visits and families participation is
New visits and families participation is
App "Chronos, adventure in the Naval Museum",
published in Samsung Store.
A selected project
and sponsored by :
Multiplataform, fully responsive.
We work with frameworks that allow to create native
apps for both Android and iOS with a single
All designs are customizable to different resolutions
and screen. Mobile and tablets
That way you get almost 95% of market Apps devices
running at optimal performance and reducing
production costs to a minimum
Software firms: Corona SDK, Unity
Based Located Game
The map is real so
you can use the
game as a guide
or as a shortlister
Identity card, to welcome and invite to be part of the game. You can customize
it. You can also use the pen Samsung wanted us to promote.
Old artifacts remixed
with the game frame.
enrolled in the Chronos.
They are real sailors and
act like guides, giving
advice and hints.
ARG are located based games
(they use real world as a
board) that apply transmedia
strategies to tell a story that
changes with the ideas and
actions of the participants.
Institute for the
Kids are in some ways
ideally prepared to deal with
change, and may have more
to say and more power to
influence the world than at
any other time in history.
kids with digital tools
…2.0 & transmedia
British Museum Samsung Discovery
Kids creating their own guides
At the end of
We have discovered that we want to contribute to
improve education through apps that actively involve
children in exploring, understanding and building
We understand the role of museums as
content platforms and we think we can be the
right partner for museum branded content.
Touristic guides for children and
Promoting values, encouraging
activities out of the screen and social
Located based games
Enhancing family touristic experiences
*Pratten, Robert (2011). ''Getting Started with Transmedia Storytelling. A Practical Guide for
Beginners''. En: http://www.slideshare.net/ZenFilms/getting-started-in-transmedia-storytelling?
*Jenkins, Henry (2003). ''Transmedia Storytelling''. En:
*Gray, Jonathan (2010). Show sold separately: promos, spoilers, and other media paratexts. New
York: New York University.
*Diego Fernando Montoya, Mauricio Vásquez Arias, Harold Salinas Arboleda “Sistemas
intertextuales transmedia: exploraciones conceptuales y aproximaciones investigativas” en