Sunday, January 5, 2014

Connecting Social Media to Exhibits: From Not-So-Good to Good

Between November and December of 2013, I had the opportunity to visit a number of art and Smithsonian museums in Denver, Washington, DC, and New York.

While each of the items below show one way engagement, they are examples of curatorial techniques intended to increase viewer engagement and enjoyment through the provision of additional  digital content about the exhibit.

The use of social media to provide more information for the public is something I typically look for. Museums are connecting the public through Facebook and Websites, and then provide QR codes or recordings available from mobile phones.

Some experiences were better than others. For example, I was excited to see QR codes in the Western Art area of Denver Art Museum (DAM) at, but could not get them to play after I scanned them. I thought, well maybe the network is overloaded, or maybe my phone can pull up the web inside the current architecture, but the QR’s would not play even when I tried them at home. More work/information/support is needed for these. In digging around on the web, I found an app for DAM QR, but the user commented that he or she was not able to read any of the QR’s either.

A really good experience with QR was at the National Botanical Gardens in DC, I was able to clearly listen to a recording about plants before the development of flowers. It was short in duration, which probably indicates attention to the average attention span, and forwarding traffic flow through the particular exhibit.

Last in this set of observations was the Museum of Art and Design in NY. The signage for a special exhibit, Out of Hand (digital printing) was very good.  It included information on how to access audio remarks with mobile devices. Exhibits were numbered to correlate with the recordings on the mobile website:
The museum site also included videos about the exhibit.

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