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Technologies in Museums
Final Project and Presentation
History Pin: Project and Presentation
BRINGING IT TO THE STREETS:
How can Museums, Libraries and Archives use Historypin?
For my final project I explored using Historypin to create an onsite tour. The project uses Historypin to complete a tour, that can be accessed using QR codes at a local historic site, Historic Speedwell. I also researched how museums, libraries, archives and historic sites are using History Pin to promote their collections and reach new audiences. The class presentation focused on how to use the website and how other institutions are using the site to promote their collection.
Notes From the Presentation:
About History Pin
History pin is a website and smartphone application that allows users to upload content, add a description, and any personal stories, then pin the content to a map. This allows other users to access the content, related to the location. The content is user-generated historical photos and personal recollections. The website uses Google Maps, and Google Street View. Users are able to search for content by date and location. If a Google Street view is available the user can overlay the historical photo over the street view, showing the juxtaposition between the contemporary view and historical view.
Historypin was created by a non-profit company We Are What We Do, by CEO Nick Stanhope, in partnership with Google. The beta version of the website launched in the United Kingdom June 2010 and the Royal Institute in London. Originally a UK based project they launched a Historypin map, covering North America and continental Europe in July, 2011. Before branching out of the UK, the website had over 30,000 images and recollections.
Some of the Museums I looked at for examples include:
Sacramento Mid-Century Modern
“We couldn’t get a team to sit here and catalog this, with this variety of knowledge, in a million years,” said Deborah Wythe, the head of digital collections at the museum.
How it is used
In order to sign in to Historypin you need to have a Google account. You can access information without signing in but if you want to upload your own content you need to setup an account. I found some difficulties in using the site. It took a certain amount of trial and error to create the Tour: A Tale of Two Houses. In order to create a tour you have to setup a profile, pin images and create a collection.
Profile found at this link.
A Tale of Two House Moves
PROJECT found at this link.
The tour consists of 13 images of the buildings the L’Hommedieu and Estey House. These buildings were moved from the corner of Spring and Water Street, Morristown (Currently Headquarters Plaza’s Parking Garage) to Historic Speedwell, in 1969. The tour is pinned at the Heaquarters Plaza and Historic Speedwell locations. Many of these image pins did not offer Google Streetviews on the map because they are not located on main roads anymore. So they work more efficiently as onsite tours then online tours. The tour is intended to work in conjunction with QR codes. There will be 4 QR codes, placed at the current and former building locations, each leading to the Tale of Two Houses Tour on Historypin. I have not installed the QR codes yet.
I plan on presenting this tour idea to the Morris County Park Commission, with the intent to pursue a partnership/ local project with Historypin. The moving of these houses was a big event that shut down town for a day or two and I am sure there are many interesting stories, and photos from the community that would help expand the tour. I hope to gather more content, audio clips, and video clips contributed from the community, not just the Historic Speedwell Archives.
Historypin.com is a great website and wonderful way to capture the image collection of the world. As a resource for Museums I found it difficult to search by Museum collection. The search requirements are limited to subject, location and year. In order for Museum/Libraries and Archives to have a greater presence on the website I think they should allow you to “easily” search by creator or institution.
Final Presentation on Historypin.
A CLASS AT THE MUSEUM
As part of my visit to the American Museum of Natural History, my husband joined me to prepare to bring his students on their 3rd grade class trip, March 15. I thought this trip would be a great opportunity to work on a new badge and see how mobile learning technology could be used by schoolteachers in museums. We worked together to see if the technology available in the App could help him and his students learn something in the museum and classroom. This is what we came up with.
The group of students consists of 5 Third graders receiving Special Education services.
Smartphone with Explorer App activated and synced to the museum Wi-Fi. Teacher Email Account, Camera Phone, Teacher Glogster Account.
In third grade they are learning about the different animal kingdoms, classifications, species, environments, adaptations and behaviors within the animal kingdom. The trip will primarily focus on Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians. The students will visit galleries that focus on these topics in their investigation. A student will pick one animal that they would like to present a report on from one of the following halls.
1st floor- North American Mammals
2nd Floor- Asian Mammals
2nd Floor- 3rd Floor Akeley Hall of African Mammals
3rd Floor Reptiles and Amphibians; New York State Mammals
The students are given a list of five questions that they will have to answer in their presentations using the tools provided by the exhibit and cell phone app. They will gather the research they need for their presentations, using the evidence provided in the animal dioramas, exhibit labels, museum App and links.
Here are the questions:
1. What is the animals name, and its classification is the animal kingdom; mammal, reptile or amphibian?
2. What continent are they from and what is their environment like?
Answer one or the other.
3. Are they a predator or prey?
4. What is the animal adaption that helps them survive?
When a student has selected an animal, with the direct guidance and supervision of their teacher, they will gather their evidence using a smartphone they have borrowed from their teacher (in this case Mr. Bump’s iPhone). Using the phone, they will take pictures of the animal, animal’s environment, and either evidence of an adaptation or scene of animal acting as predator or prey. The students will navigate the Explorer App, locate their animal, read the additional text about the animal, bookmark it and mark the animal as visited. The teacher would then send the animals information to their teacher email using, the “Share via email” feature of the app. When back in the classroom the students can access their animal’s information. Using the photos they took at the museum, and links the teacher emailed to the school, they will plan their presentation in Glogster.
Example Investigation and Report: Here is a run through of what the presentation process would look like.
In the 3rd Floor Akeley Hall of African Mammals I selected the Black Rhinoceros as the subject of my presentation. Reading the label text, studying the Rhino diorama, and the information provided in the Explorer App, I decide what I would photograph.
Answer to Question 1: The Animal
Mammal, Black Rhinoceros
Answer to Question 2: The Environment.
The Black Rhinoceros inhabits dry brush and thorn country, in Africa.
Answer to Question 4: Adaptation
Evidence of the Rhino’s adaptation in defense against predators is the Rhino Horn and thick skin.
This is a link to the information that I emailed to myself about the Black Rhinoceros.
Using the photos, information from the gallery, App, and linked information this is the report I created about the Rhino in Glogster.
Check it out for yourself…
MOBILE LEARNING CONFERENCE
I was able to attend some of the sessions in the auditorium of the online Mobile Learning Conference. This was my first time accessing an online conference, so it took some getting used to. When I went into a “shop” and the representative addressed me by name through my computer speakers, I was a little taken back.
However, I found many of the presentations fascinating and helpful. Chris McClaren of Tristan http://tristaninteractive.com/presented more about their philosophy of how to create great mobile learning experience, than a detailed description of their product. I found this approach very helpful and would like to share his thoughts. At Tristan, they can work with institutions to create anything from a simple audio, App, or game to a marketing strategy. Chris believes that the mobile learning program should be made multiplatform. This is to ensure that mobile users can access content using iPhones, Blackberries, Androids or Mobile web. The content should also include a social media strategy, allowing users to connecting to twitter, Facebook or a blog.
Chris explained the difference between Native vs. Mobile Web. A native App is an App that is created to run specifically on the phone it runs on. For example an App created for the iPhone platform runs on an iPhone cell phone and it can’t run on a Droid or Blackberry. The Mobile Web is flexible and can run on all the platforms, but lacks in functionality and design. According the Chris, Native has its advantages over Mobile Web. It runs smoother, looks better and it also allows for more accessibility features, such as voice over support. His recommendation is to create a Native App on mutliplatforms. This option is not that much more expensive.
The museum must market the app “Apps don’t sell themselves.” He then described an example of a museum in Canada that increased its App sales 10 times in one week, through signage, website and newspaper marketing.
At the end of his presentation he described that an App can be created for as low as $10,000.00, which I thought was expensive. It seems to me that mobile learning can be an expensive investment for an institution. This must be why there are so many of these companies out there and not that many museum Apps. I included a list of the exhibitors with emails to this blog just incase anyone was interested.
Some fun facts that I learned from the conference include:
90% Of people in the US are Cell phone users.
55% Use basic phones
45% Of them use Smartphones
12% Use iPhone
18% Use Android
15% Blackberry Palm
Only 18% of visitors access content using QR codes.
AMNH Explorer and Dinosaur Tour:
I don’t know if it was because I was completely overwhelmed by the crowds at MNH, but I was really not impressed with their free mobile learning apps. I know these Apps cost a lot of money to make but I really expected more.
I used the Dinosaur App and the Explorer App. For a good hour Canaan, my husband and I couldn’t find any of the Dinosaurs in the Dino Tour and the GPS couldn’t find us, to show us where to find the Dinos. After asking two staff member that didn’t know anything about an App or cell phone tour, we went to the information desk to get advise. The gentleman at the desk told us that we needed to sink with their Wi-Fi or nothing would work. We didn’t see anything posted informing you to sink with their Wi-Fi anywhere.
We finally found the Dino’s we were looking for and accessed their App information. This included a picture of what we were looking right at and three sentences about the dinosaur that were in the panels in front of you. After you accessed the information you were able to Bookmark your Dino as visited, email yourself information about it and tweet your find. All of this social media interaction was very cool, and the information that was sent home was very thorough. I found the App worked well to send information home but did not provide any new information at the museum.
Some of the things I expected in the Dino tour included, text and photos that were not in the museum display. Some ideas I had to remix the App include: Images of the Dino excavation, video of conservation, a rendering of what the dinosaur looked like, or a digital recreation of its habitat. Using augmented reality to see a view of where the dinosaur remains were found layered into a current view of the site today would have added a really unique experience to the display.
All in all I was very disappointed. I hope they plan on evolving the App to include some of the new ways museums are using Apps to highlight their collection, what they do and provide a unique experience they can’t get a home.
Mobile Learning companies
Hi did anyone catch the new Nina Simon post on the Museum 2.0 blog. She is talking about how she should rethink the way internships are structured. She is basing her new approach on a conversation she with students at MAAM. I think we know those students! It looks like Pam, Jen and the other students at the leadership luncheon made an impression. Thats cool…
FREE MODILE LEARNING EXPO TODAY…
I just discovered there is a Mobile learning online expo today that is FREE.
They will talk about the New York Public library’s new Ipad app Biblion. Biblion allows visitors using an ipad to explore the photos, documents, multimedia, and scholarly essays in the NYPL collection. The first exhibition is about the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair.
Participation is for History Museums Too…
I want to share this fascinating article with you this morning. It is right on topic with the beginning of our last class discussion. Is a historic museum any place for participation? I think we all agreed yes it is! And here it goes… In the AASLH History News there is an article by Rainey Tisdale, it is in reaction to Steven Conn’s new book Do Museums Still Need Objects? This powerful title made me have to read the article, that second. There were a few key talking points, I was curious to see the group’s opinion on. http://aaslhcommunity.org/historynews/files/2011/08/RaineySmr11Links.pdf
If anyone was interested in participating the AASLH is encouraging people to comment in a group discussion on the topic. Add your two cents at http://aaslhcommunity.org/historynews/history-museums-objects/
“So what’s the point of expend¬ing our resources preserving these collections if we’re not doing something imaginative, experimental, or amazing with them? We are indeed now in the business of serving our audiences, and we can’t do so effectively with the same for¬mulaic approach, repeated in history museum after history museum, around the country.”
“If we started over in 2011, building our collections from scratch (practicalities aside), what would they look like? And in the interest of building 2.0 museums, should we let the public in on that conversation? What do our visitors (and maybe more importantly, the millions of Americans who don’t visit museums) wish they were seeing on our walls and in our exhibit cases that they’re not?”
“Dan Spock (and others) have suggested that museums are shifting from a position of authority to one of mediation, that our new model “is more conversational, more a set of negotia¬tions and interactions, than a set of mutually exclusive ide¬ologies.” In other words, today’s curator is a subject expert who facilitates the process of creating a collective history by convening the conversation, asking interesting questions, suggesting trusted sources and methods for exploration, gently guiding the discussion, and checking for factual er¬rors. But curators no longer provide the actual answers. Are you comfortable with this new role, and what kind of re¬training do you need to take it on?”13
“As younger generations be¬come a larger and larger percentage of our audience, history museums face an increased expectation that visitors will be able to interact with objects in a variety of ways—tagging, voting, commenting, and even user curation. Not only have we been slow to adapt to these new demands for participa¬tory learning, we still haven’t worked out what to do with the demand for good old-fashioned touching.”9
Some cool projects mentioned in the article:
Streetmuseum London “Streetmuseum allows you to walk around London with your mobile device, pull¬ing up images from another era to compare then with now.” http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Resources/app/you-are-here-app/index.html
“Meanwhile, websites like HistoryPin, SepiaTown, andWhatWasThere are creating global Google maps of historic photographs that can be viewed alongside their contemporary counterparts using Google Street View. Anyone, anywhere in the world—including museums—can upload images to these sites for free. WhatWasThere has an iPhone app, and it’s like¬ly just a matter of time before the others create versions for mobile phones. So imagine if all of our collection databases included a field for GPS coordinates, and we either made our own mobile apps or uploaded photos of our artifacts into sites like WhatWasThere. Then members of our communities could understand where these objects came from, and perhaps better visualize the layers of history under their feet.”
Here is the paper TO PHOTO OR NOT TO PHOTO? To Photo or Not To Photo
MID-TERM TO PHOTO OR NOT TO PHOTO?
Until recently, I thought “no-photo” policies were a given in best practice museum standards. I would never have second-guessed our current “no-photography policy” in my day-to-day duties. However, it wasn’t until recently that I developed an uncertainty about this policy. Is this common museum practice becoming outdated and unfounded?
It was these few lines in Nina Simon’s book that sparked my investigation into TO PHOTO OR NOT TO PHOTO?
“In museums, the most frequent way that visitors share objects with each other is through photographs. – When people share pictures with each other, either directly via email or in a more distributed fashion via social networks, it’s a way to express themselves, their affinity for certain institutions or objects and simply to say, “I was here.” – When museums prevent visitors from taking photo, the institutional message is, “you can’t share your experience with your own tools here. – Photo policies are not easy to change, especially when it comes to institutions that rely heavily on loans or traveling exhibitions.”
(The Participatory Museum, Simon, 176-7.)