Below is a link to my final project. It’s designed as an interactive map for a museum exhibit.
Below is a link to my final project. It’s designed as an interactive map for a museum exhibit.
I went to the American Museum of Natural History today. Anna, Amy and I checked out ipod touches from the museum, and went exploring. My first reaction was that the app was good for finding you way around. There are a few ways to explore the museum. First there are tours and scavenger hunts to see the high lights of the museum. I liked this a lot; there a few things that everyone is going to want to see, especially at the AMNH, and I thought it was helpful to be guided directly to the different objects, from the blue whale to the t-rex and lucy. The problem the group had was that it didn’t tell you where the object was before you chose to go to it. There was no indication on the object page or the map (more on that later), so you couldn’t plan your trip strategically; we started crisscrossing the museum, wasting a lot of time/energy getting around. That being said, the room icons on the map did tell you what highlighted item was in that room, so that was helpful once you were in the room so you didn’t miss anything important.
Second was the mapping section. Firstly, I had major problems with my second ipod, but more on that later. With the first ipod, it worked fine. There was a digital map of the whole museum that breaks down where you are and also what is in every room. The problem in the design I feel is that the overall map doesn’t give you the name of the rooms, so you have to click on a icon to a) find out what room it is and b) whats in that room. So you have to memorize the rooms, which I felt made it difficult to navigate. I kept referencing my paper map to see what was near, so we could stop wandering. I wish that the digital map was more like the paper map, and allowed you to explore at a glance, without having to check every icon.
I did find the information that the app gave you about the exhibits to be useful. Alot in the galleries is unlabeled, or just gives a name. There was a North West Indian’s armour with chinese coins all over it, and that was a bit confusing. So we checked the app, and it explained they came from a Boston merchant (didn’t explain how they got to Washington, but anyway…). So that was informative; the bad thing was that that was the only thing in the whole room in the app! That was pretty common, only a few highlighted items were mentioned, but what they had was informative, if brief.
Now for the technical problems! First, my ipod, about 30 minutes in, alerted me that I had 20% battery left, and started dying. Then Amy and Anna’s started to die as well, which is a little insane, because we arrive at around 11:30, so we should have been among the first users of the day, so why weren’t they fully charged? It was a problem we never thought about: keeping equipment charged is very important, because it only took a hour and a half for the device to get dangerously low on power. We swung back to the desk and got replacement ipods, and they almost gave Amy one that was low again! With new ipods, we returned to the gallery, but I had a lot of technical problems with this on my second ipod. The app couldn’t find me in the museum! I didn’t feel like returning for a third ipod, so I kept it. It always said I was on the second floor, even when I was on the fourth! Because of this, the guided map directions didn’t work, and it always preset back to the front room, which I was no where near. When I eventually got back on the second floor, the problem still occurred, they just had the right floor coincidentally. If I had been by myself and didn’t have my paper map, this would have been very, very confusing!
Anyway, we took too long in AMNH to get to MoMA, so we’re going back tomorrow. Part two to come!
So its a really good thing we didn’t go on Saturday!
Anyway, so Saturday the 5th, leaving on the 10:04 train (unless someone wants to leave at 9 or 11). I think Natural History was a group favorite, and Abby and Kelsey mentioned wanting to come along and go to MoMA, which I think is a good second geographically.
Please respond if you plan on coming, so we don’t leave anyone behind!
I few of us talked about going on the field trip this saturday (tomorrow). I think everyone was game for the Natural History Museum, but not sure about which one to do second? I was thinking we should leave on either the 9:04 or 10:04 train, unless someone wants to drive. Any one is welcome to join us!
EDIT: so the weather looks like it’s going to be worse than I thought, how about moving to NEXT saturday, a day that no freak snow is expected?
Here are links to the museums we discussed in class:
Museum of Natural History
I found two more to add to the list:
National Museum of the American Indian, New York City
The Infinity of Nations exhibit has a App for iphone
Museum of Jewish Heritage
Keeping History Center:
“In a gallery with panoramic views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty, the Keeping History Center presents the Museum’s ideas and collections in an award-winning, interactive, digital experience that links the past to the present.”
Just a few articles I found interesting this weekend. The first is about a show at the Gagosian Gallery of Picasso. The thing I found interesting in this article is about the increased professionalization of gallery shows, how galleries are increasingly producing scholarly shows and receiving more cooperation with museums for loans. Also that because museums planned this years shows in 2008, when the economy was tanking, this year is especially sparse in large exhibitions, and that private galleries are in a way stepping into the void.
The second caught my attention because, well, there’s a slide. The New Museum is installing a clear plastic slide in their galleries that guests can slide down. Just some fun participation in art.
The last just follows up on our discussion of “Work of Art” on bravo. Basically the article notes that the second season started a few weeks ago, and was practically ignored compared to the hoopla it created the first time around.
I don’t have a catalogue of museum resources as of yet, so I went to the Future of Museums site and explored their blog links. From there, found some more links on some of the other blogs, and here are some of my favorites. P.S. I read a lot of Nina Simon’s blog Museums 2.0 before I realized she wrote our book. It’s an awesome blog.
1. fresh + new(er)
I found this blog from the Power House Museum, a science and design museum in Sydney. They’re featured in a mashable.com article called “How tech is changing the museum exerience.’ (http://mashable.com/2011/09/14/high-tech-museums/) The blog talks about the apps they are developing to navigate their exhibits, as well as apps of walking tour of their area (including one devoted to historic pubs), and my personal favorite, a site that compiles free/cheap programs happening in local museums, sports, and recreational facilities. They were commissioned by the local government, because the individual websites didn’t note other activities and these activities were buried in local ‘what to do’ lists.
2. Sustainable Museums
This is my Pacific Northwest roots coming out. Written by Sarah Brophy, author of The Green Museum: A Primer on Environmental Practice, it’s a good resource because it’s full of links and book reviews. Museums need to be a part of the green movement because sustainability needs to be a part of every kind institution, especially those that aim to improve their visitor’s lives.
3. Prerogative of Harlots
I just enjoyed this one. I started reading it because I loved the title, I kept reading it because it covers a wide range of issues, from digitization, to display, to funding.
This is the documentary “The Art of the Steal.” Its about the Barnes Foundation, a private museum and school. Founded in 1922 by Dr. Albert C. Barnes, Henri Matisse called it “The only sane place to see art in America.” The Barnes Foundation, which has control of the collection, plans to move from the Philadelphia suburbs to downtown. The Friends of the Barnes is fighting the move, because they believe it goes against not only the spirit of the institution, but Dr. Barnes’ will (Thats up for debate). Its a pretty fascinating story.
This is relevant because it’s a prime example of the changing nature of the modern museum. The changing composition of the board plays a large part in the decision to move. The importance of location (there’s footage of irritated neighbors filming tour buses parked on their street thats pretty entertaining), the changed mission (or the perception of a change?) caused great debate. Ultimately, the documentary is about is the museum valuable to the public best when it stays true to it’s founder’s vision, or does it need to be easily accessible in the tourist district to serve the public best?
The Barnes foundation, which runs the museum, the faq has a pretty detailed synopsis, and there’s more info about the planned move.
the Friends of the Barnes is a group, mentioned in the documentary, of former students, staff, and fans, fighting against the move.
I’m Melanie O’Donnell, 24. I grew up in the Portland, Oregon suburb of Vancouver, Washington. I’m the eldest of three, I have a brother just starting UW and my sister is a sophomore in high school, so I’m a bit older than them.
I graduated form the University of Washington in 2009, with a degree in History, and had no idea what to do with it. I stayed in Seattle at the waiting job I had for most of undergrad, and tried to decide what I wanted to do. I decided on museum studies because I wanted to stay with history, and in some way educate about it, but I didn’t want to teach high school (that requires, well, being at a high school), and I didn’t what to become a professor and be required to write scholarly articles for the rest of my life. I liked museums because they kept me in the general field, and also allowed a immediate connection to the past, while also allowing a opportunity to in some why teach about the past. Little did I know that this would cause me to move to the other side of the country to attend Seton Hall!