The eyes want to have it: Multimedia Handhelds in the Museum (an evolving story)

Co-Author at "Creating the Visitor-Centered Museum"
Sep. 23, 2008

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The eyes want to have it: Multimedia Handhelds in the Museum (an evolving story)

  1. The eyes want to have it: Multimedia handhelds in the museum ( an evolving story) Peter Samis Associate Curator, Interpretation San Francisco Museum of Modern Art WCC 2008 Milano • 8–10 September 2008
  2. Setting the Stage
  3. Museums! Even if they look like this on the outside...
  4. ...they look like this on the inside.
  5. … and this...
  6. … and this.
  7. This is our Problem Space: Opportunity
  8. Experts… … … … …… Novices Somewhere along the line that leaves us to restore the context.
  9. Hypothetical Demand Curve:
  10. First Forays
  11. Points of Departure — SFMOMA 2002
  12. First use of artist videos on PDAs in a museum space. Sometimes interpretation ’s a case of what’s missing …
  13. Sometimes it’s a case of what’s there.
  15. The goal is to meet people where they are—both conceptually and physically.
  16. as is the Museum environment.
  17. Technology & museums change at very different paces.
  18. With that in mind, a bit of history.
  19. Early prototype: MEG @ Experience Music Project , Seattle, 2002 Mobile Exhibition Guide
  20. The Visitor Experience
  22. Tate Modern’s Multimedia guide , 2002/3… Casual cues shift attention from artwork to screen… and then back to artwork
  23. Just-in-time learning/modeling how to look UBC’s Museum of Anthropology demo 2004… Ubiquity Interactive, Vancouver
  24. … through use of QTVR and animations
  25. Augmented space: physical spaces filled with electronic and visual information … and social sharing of that information
  26. Question of constantly changing hardware models, not to mention form factors … and of consequent lack of technical support!
  27. Visionary Failures* * aka reach exceeding grasp/ techno-hubris
  28. GettyGuide Handheld: Evaluations Visitors would rather pay for a simple audio player with all artworks covered than a free but fancier handheld with only some, e.g., family audio stops. Visitors would also approve of a handheld that had all the audio content with a touchscreen keypad & improved on-screen map Inform the potential of handhelds – can we use them? How can the handheld and audio player be used in conjunction What to See guide — Handheld vs. simple MP3 Audio Player (Antenna X-plorer) Study Result
  29. ArtScape @ the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. Good idea, but an absence of further in-depth content made the return visit to the website superfluous.
  30. WiVID Messaging & Live Updates (prototypes)
  31. Chasing the tail of technology was getting museums nowhere…  (except into debt )
  32. Grassroots Returns & Tests
  33. Enter a cheap & disruptive Social Technology: the Podcast
  34. Guest Takes Pamela Z JT Leroy Beth Lisick
  35. Vox Pop
  36. disruptive Social Technology #2: The Cell phone
  37. Matthew Barney: Drawing Restraint, 2006
  38. Our problem: subtract the man/film from the gallery, and… How to make the mute plastic speak?
  39. Traditionally, this would have been cause for a multimedia feature. … online, by the galleries, in the Koret Center.
  40. Downloadable podcast map
  41. Cell phone promotional card - collab w/ Guide by Cell
  42. In fact, we thought we were setting out to measure visitor preferences for three different types of audio tours. And we did that.
  43. Those who chose the iPod and cell phone formats rated them more highly than traditional headset tour users rated theirs. — although the content was identical!
  44. Phone logs enabled us to see patterns in where visitors wanted information most: (or perhaps where they or could find the labels!)
  45. In fact, GuideBy Cell now mashes up area codes and Google Maps to reveal where visitors are from:
  46. So somewhere along the way, the target shifted.
  47. The elephant in the room is that: The vast majority of our visitors do not use technology during their museum visit. So how do we reach them?
  48. If our goal is to use technology, we may just nod and move on . But if our goal is to enhance visitor experience, we have to think larger.
  49. “Variable on-demand mediation.” –Brad Johnson, Second Story Interactive
  50. Here’s what that looks like: Use of offerings by respondents:
  51. But on the other hand: What helped make meaning?
  52. But taken together, Interpretation works: Statistics Courtesy Randi Korn & Associates
  53. Or put another way: This is our Opportunity Space! Is it time to re-train our visitors? Change their expectations? Change our approach? All of the above?
  54. Next Tests: Traditional audio tour vs. iPod
  55. When visitors were given the choice … 49% 51% Eliasson / Cornell / Wall 45% 55% Matisse 41% 59% Picasso & Brice Marden iPod Antenna XP - “Classic”(mp3) Exhibitions in 2007 (in sequence)
  56. Do we detect a trend?
  57. Fast forward to summer 2008 (right now):
  67. Visitor Feedback
  74. iPod-Touch and iPhone
  75. Soon to come… an SFMOMA iPhone title: In the meantime…
  76. Planning Today/State of the Art
  77. A url to remember:
  82. New Book Digital Technologies & the Museum Experience: Handheld Guides & Other Media Editors Loïc Tallon & Kevin Walker, AltaMira Press Available now through amazon or
  83. Thank you.