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Changing contexts: museums, audiences and technology

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A presentation for the International Training Programme run by the British Museum for museum professionals from around the world. This is based on a presentation I prepared for OpenCulture 2011, but includes additional material on mobile phones/devices including the 'Hidden Histories' pilot.

Changing contexts: museums, audiences and technology

  1. 1. [A
presenta+on
for
the
Interna+onal
Training
Programme
run
by
the
Bri+sh
Museum
for
museum
professionals
from
around
the
world]
For
those
who
dont
know
me,
Im
Mia,
freelancer
and
a
PhD
student
at
Open
University.
Ive
been
a
cultural
heritage
technologist
for
over
a
decade,
and
have
worked
interna+onally
as
a
programmer,
analyst,
researcher
and
consultant.
Lately
Ive
been
working
on
crowdsourcing
metadata
for
museum
objects
through
games,
and
in
my
PhD
I’ll
be
working
with
specialist
users
around
the
digi+sa+on
and
geoloca+on
of
historical
materials.
This
is
an
angel
with
a
mobile
phone
on
St.
John’s
Cathedral,
Netherlands
and
I’ve
chosen
it
because
it
symbolises
the
way
the
world
is
changing
around
us;
genera+ons
are
skipping
the
desktop
computer
and
going
straight
to
netbooks,
tablets,
mobile
phones...
The
world
is
changing
rapidly,
and
I’ll
discuss
some
of
the
challenges
this
brings,
but
ul+mately
it’s
about
the
amazing
opportuni+es
it
creates.
Image
source:
hRp://technabob.com/blog/2011/04/11/angel‐with‐mobile‐phone/
Sculpture
by
Ton
Mooy
for
St.
John’s
Cathedral,
’s‐Hertogenbosch,
Netherlands.

 1

  2. 2. First
of
all,
its
important
to
acknowledge
that
audience
expecta+ons
are
set
by
their
experiences
outside
the
museum
‐
in
school,
visitor
aRrac+ons,
cinemas,
online,
at
home.

Facebook
teaches
them
to
tag
images,
Foursquare
to
mark
their
loca+on,
TwiRer
to
find
engaged
communi+es.
TV
tells
them
that
anyone
can
be
a
star.
Every
bit
of
social
media
teaches
them
to
share
and
be
sociable.

Some
of
them
may
be
carrying
cameras,
game
consoles
and
phones
that
are
more
modern
than
anything
you
could
install
and
maintain
in
gallery.
Image
source:
Horia
Varlan
hRp://www.flickr.com/photos/horiavarlan/4269333919/
 2

  3. 3. But
I
s+ll
think
we’re
lucky
to
be
working
in
cultural
heritage
now...
Its
not
about
compe+ng
with
the
changing
technology
and
behaviours
outside
museums,
its
about
working
with
it.
Designing
an
engaging
visitor
experience
should
be
your
star+ng
point,
then
think
crea+vely
about
how
it
could
be
enhanced
with
technology.

And
its
not
all
about
technology
‐
some+mes
post‐it
notes
are
as
good
as
an
interac+ve
kiosk.
But
that
said,
these
are
some
digital
trends
Im
going
to
discuss…
Image
source:
Mia
Ridge
 3

  4. 4. Augmented
reality
layers
can
be
triggered
by
loca+on
and
orienta+on,
as
in
this
Wikitude
example
showing
facts
about
a
castle...
More
info
at
hRp://www.delicious.com/miaridge/augmentedreality
hRp://lefrightandcentre.net/2009/06/17/augmented‐reality‐what‐are‐we‐looking‐at/wikitude‐500x396‐real/
 4

  5. 5. Simple
way
to
provide
mul+‐lingual
access
to
informa+on
–
this
example
links
to
pages
on
Wikipedia
rather
than
informa+on
wriRen
specifically
for

the
object
in
the
museum
context,
but
it’s
a
quick
solu+on
to
providing
informa+on
for
a
broader
audience.
QR
codes
can
contain
any
wriRen
text
as
well
as
URLs,
so
don’t
always
need
internet
access,
though
explaining
them
can
require
thought.
Image
source:
hRp://twitpic.com/3x2duc
More
info
on
what
Nick
Moyes,
Terence
Eden
and
Roger
Bamkin
did
at
hRp://nickmoyes.blogspot.com/2011/04/when‐glam‐met‐wiki‐wikipedia‐and.html
 5

  6. 6. Or
by
loca+on
and
markers
such
as
QR
codes…
and
in
this
case,
the
museum
has
taken
artworks
to
where
the
people
are
‐
a
music
fes+val.
Stedelijk
Museum
at
Lowlands
fes+val
See
hRp://conference.archimuse.com/mw2011/papers/augmented_reality_and_the_museum_experience
for
more
Images
from
hRp://wluture.wordpress.com/2010/08/22/first‐impressions‐the‐stedelijk‐museum‐art‐collec+on‐in‐augmented‐reality/
 6

  7. 7. This
example
gives
people
without
smart
phones
an
experience
of
the
story
you’re
trying
to
tell,
as
well
as
providing
a
lot
more
informa+on
online.

It’s
a
great
example
of
taking
history
back
to
the
places
where
it
happened.
More
at
hRp://popupcity.net/2011/03/qr‐storytelling/
 7

  8. 8. A
bus
stop
in
the
Civic
Center/Tenderloin
district
in
San
Francisco
with
a
poster
about
the
history
of
the
place
instead
of
the
usual
ad
Image
source:
Mia
Ridge
 8

  9. 9. ‘Then
and
now’
is
a
great
way
to
help
people
understand
the
relevance
of
history
to
their
own
lives.

It
may
be
accessed
through
being
in
the
place,
or
through
views
of
the
loca+on
like
maps
You
can
take
interpreta+on
outside
the
walls
of
the
museum
with
images,
text,
QR
codes,
soundscapes
and
other
evoca+ons...
When
you
release
your
data
and/or
images
under
an
open
licence,
people
can
do
brilliant
things
with
it.

This
early
mashup
(hRp://www.paulhagon.com/thenandnow/)
uses
images
from
Flickr
Commons
(hRp://www.flickr.com/commons)
and
puts
them
into
modern
Google
street
view.
Because
this
uses
images
from
the
Commons,
it’s
ins+tu+onal
images
only...

 9

  10. 10. But
you
can
use/create
services
that
will
let
anyone
add
images.
This
is
Historypin,
which
is
one
of
many
‘then
and
now’
sites
around.
Historypin
are
unusual
because
they
want
to
bring
different
genera+ons
into
the
same
place
to
work
together
to
create
‘social
capital’
–
it’s
not
just
about
the
history
or
the
technology.
 10

  11. 11. This
is
‘what
was
there’
–
this
screenshot
shows
an
overlay
of
an
photo
from
the
Brixton
riots
on
the
modern
streetscape.
 11

  12. 12. I
worked
on
the
Hidden
Histories
pilot
with
the
Science
Museum,
UCL,
BT
Archives
(funded
by
the
AHRC).

The
project
explored
ques+ons
like,
‘What
if
we
could
re‐connect
the
history
of
technology
found
in
museums
and
scholarship
to
the
mobile
user?
What
if
the
public’s
experiences
and
memories
can
be
channelled
back
into
the
app?
Can
the
full
poten+al
of
ci+zen
mobile
for
history
of
technology
be
tapped?
Can
geolocated
heritage
increase
public
engagement
with
and
access
to
museum
collec+ons?’
We
learnt
a
lot
about
the
issues
around
presen+ng
objects
(which
museums
love),
facts
(which
museums
and
academics
love)
and
stories
(which
people
love)
in
the
same
interface.
Also,
how
do
you
deal
with
bandwidth
issues
for
media
like
video
when
you’re
aiming
for
serendipitous
discovery
in
the
loca+ons
where
there
are
hidden
stories
to
tell?

How
can
you
best
take
advantage
of
the
na+ve
capabili+es
of
a
device
(e.g.
camera,
GPS),
and
can
you
develop
a
mobile
web
(rather
than
app)
site
to
enable
access
for
a
wider
range
of
devices?
More
at
hRp://sciencemuseumdiscovery.com/blogs/loca+ngheritage/
 12

  13. 13. The
pilot
highlighted
many
of
the
constraints
of
mobile
devices...
e.g.

• Tension
between
desire
for
small
and
portable
devices
vs
desire
for
larger
screens
for
viewing
media
and
easier
text
entry,
longer
baRery
life
• Bandwidth
–
roaming
and
data
charges
–
people
are
ofen
s+ll
scared
of
unexpected
data
charges
• Time
and
place
to
concentrate
and
watch?
What
if
the
bus
you’re
wai+ng
for
comes
while
you’re
using
the
app?
• If
you’re
playing
video
or
sharing
images,
can
everyone
in
your
group
see
the
screen
or
does
it
isolate
the
person
with
the
device?
Ar+cles
like
hRp://uxmag.com/design/peanut‐buRer‐in‐denver
are
a
good
start
for
thinking
about
these
issues
 13

  14. 14. There
are
more
experts
outside
the
museum
than
within,
and
the
general
public
is
gifed
with
the
ability
to
describe
your
collec+ons
in
the
ordinary
language
that
will
help
make
it
discoverable
and
engaging.
If
youre
not
sure
whats
best,
why
not
ask
your
visitors?
Everyone
wins.
But
make
sure
you
follow
best
prac+ces
–
e.g.
user‐centred
design
is
more
than
just
user
tes+ng,
and
even
though
you
want
to
get
certain
pieces
of
informa+on
out
of
the
crowdsourcing
process,
it
should
be
designed
to
op+mise
the
user
experience
over
the
organisa+onal
constraints
(par+cularly
if
you
want
to
encourage
the
widest
possible
par+cipa+on
and
engagement
with
your
content).
Examples:
transcrip+ons
(Old
Weather
shipping
logs,
NYPL
menus),
image
cropping
(V&A),
Map
rec+fica+on
(Map
Warper,
NYPL),
Metadata
(steve.museum,
metadata
games),
Audio‐visual
tagging
(Waisda?)
Image:
hRp://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2011/03/guest‐post‐visitor‐par+cipa+on‐to.html
 14

  15. 15. May
11,
2011
 04/04/11
Crowdsourcing
games
have
a
lot
of
poten+al
as
‘par+cipa+on
engines’.

They
can
lower
the
barrier
to
entry
and
encourage
on‐going
par+cipa+on,
but
be
careful
of
cheap
gamifica+on
that
can
turn
intrinsic
into
extrinsic
mo+va+on.

Stats
from
Waisda?,
GWAP,
DigitalKoot
etc
hRp://blogs.forrester.com/elizabeth_shaw/11‐05‐25‐star+ng_to_play_with_social_gamers
Image
source:
hRp://www.flickr.com/photos/logicalrealist/25638338/
 15

  16. 16. A
quick
overview
of
my
research...
Unlike
art
objects,
which
are
more
accessible
‐
even
non‐experts
can
describe
them
in
terms
of
colour,
the
things
they
depict,
mood
or
individual
emo+onal
response
‐
everyday
and
technical
historical
objects
can
be
less
accessible
to
non‐experts.
Social
history
collec+ons
can
contain
tens
or
hundreds
of
similar
objects,
including
technical
items,
reference
collec+ons,
objects
whose
purpose
may
not
be
immediately
evident
from
their
appearance,
and
objects
whose
meaning
may
be
obscure
to
the
general
visitor.

So
my
project
asked
whether
metadata
games
could
help
people
have
fun
with
crea5ng
useful
content
about
difficult
objects.

How
many
versions
of
almost
iden+cal
telescopes
could
people
bear
to
see?

And
could
the
public
give
us
useful
informa+on
about
our
telescopes?
The
results
of
the
project
were
Dora,
a
tagging
game;
and
Donald,
an
experimental
trivia
game
that
explored
emergent
game‐play
around
longer
forms
of
content,
including
things
we
might
not
know
about
our
own
collec+ons.

The
code
was
designed
to
be
re‐usable
by
other
museums,
libraries
and
archives,
contact
me
if
you’re
interested
in
making
games
for
your
organisa+on.
Image
sources:
Powerhouse
Museum
 16

  17. 17. May
11,
2011
 04/04/11
In
the
tagging
game
Doras
lost
data,
the
player
meets
Dora,
a
junior
curator
who
needs
their
help
replacing
some
lost
data,
asking
them
to
add
words
that
would
help
someone
find
the
object
shown
in
Google.

My
results
suggest
that
invoking
the
magic
circle
is
key
for
encouraging
wider
par5cipa5on
in
museum
content
projects.
When
audiences
can
immediately
iden+fy
an
ac+vity
as
a
game
–
in
this
the
characters
and
a
minimal
narra+ve
really
helped
‐

their
usual
reserva+ons
about
contribu+ng
content
to
a
museum
site
disappear.
The
clearly
defined
task
(refined
through
itera+ve
cycles
of
design
and
play‐tes+ng)
is
a
strength
of
the
game
Dora.
Image
sources:
Mia
Ridge,
hRp://museumgam.es/donald/

hRp://museumgam.es/dora/
 17

  18. 18. One
result
of
gameplay
was
ac+ve
engagement
with
museum
collec+ons.

Example
tags
added
for
what
at
first
seems
like
a
visually
boring
object...
The
same
game
could
be
re‐designed
to
encourage
mul+‐lingual
content.
The
game
was
played
by
people
who
would
never
otherwise
spend
more
than
a
second
glancing
past
an
object
like
this...

Image
source:
hRp://museumgam.es/
 18

  19. 19. May
11,
2011
 04/04/11
Usage
sample:
in
a
single
evening
(approximately
6
hours),
a
call
for
players
through
one
personal
status
update
on
Facebook
yielded
180
turns
(176
tagging
turns,
4
fact
turns),
1179
tags
and
4
facts
about
145
objects
from
26
players.

The
games
are
s+ll
very
much
prototypes,
they
need
a
few
more
itera+ons
to
polish
them
and
improve
the
design
and
gameplay,
and
I
didnt
have
a
marke+ng
budget,
so
imagine
the
poten+al
for
a
proper
project...
If
I
can
do
this
on
my
evenings
and
weekends,
your
museum
can
do
it
too.
Image
source:
hRp://museumgam.es/
 19

  20. 20. 200
million
people
play
casual
games
online.

In
2010,
UK
research
said
67%
of
the
online
audience
(17
million
people)
play
casual
games
on
social
networks,
20
million
on
mobile
devices,
18
million
on
casual
games
portals.

Games
arent
new
but
theyre
powerful,
and
gamifica+on
is
a
buzzword
to
watch
out
for.
Image
source:
starmud
hRp://www.flickr.com/photos/tek/4372275755/sizes/m/in/photostream/
 20

  21. 21. Our
audiences
are
(gexng)
used
to
being
heard…
are
we
used
to
listening?

Technology
is
not
a
babysiRer,
if
cant
deliver
expecta+ons
think
carefully
before
crea+ng
them.

Are
you
in
a
dialogue
with
audiences
or
are
you
just
broadcas+ng
at
them?
Given
the
events
of
the
past
spring
across
Africa
and
the
Middle
East,
it’s
something
to
think
about
–
how
does
that
change
how
an
audience
expects
to
interact
with
formal
ins+tu+ons?
Image:
spray
paint,
plant
tree
here’,
source:
Mia
Ridge
 21

  22. 22. And
change
has
always
been
constant
because
the
world
we
live
in
is
always
changing…
Image
source:
Eire
Sarah
hRp://www.flickr.com/photos/eiresarah/3019976448/
 22

  23. 23. So
change
is
constant
‐
how
do
you
cope?
Holis+c
strategies
for
public
engagement
as
a
basis
for
decision‐making,
that
in
turn
determine
your
exhibi+on
and
online
programmes…
Work
together
across
departments
towards
your
museums
mission.
Your
content
should
be
findable,
engaging,
linkable.
Be
authorita+ve
‐
exchange
links
between
peers
to
say
your
Ma+sse
or
Newton
is
the
same
as
their
Ma+sse
or
Newton.
Help
people
discover
more
from
your
pages…

Open
data
helps
others
create
services
that
you
can’t
afford
to
–
either
for
specialists,
or
sites
(mashups)
that
cut
across
disciplines
and
object
types
to
put
your
content
in
context
with
other
cultural
heritage
etc
datasets
Image:
Asian
Art
Museum,
San
Francisco,
on
their
free
entry
Sunday
 23

  24. 24. 24
This
image
of
the
angel
with
a
mobile
phone
also
sums
up
the
way
mobile
experiences
change
the
social
and
physicImage
source:
hRp://technabob.com/blog/2011/04/11/angel‐with‐mobile‐phone/
Sculpture
by
Ton
Mooy
for
St.
Jo 24


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