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GAF Fellowship

#MCN2020 Day 2

I cut myself some slack today and missed the first session that was scheduled at 4am my time on using Twitter as a way to teach museum studies. This is really interesting to me as while I was teaching a GLAM elective at UniSA Online at the beginning of this year one of the assignments was to create a Twitter thread based on #MuseumsAreNotNeutral. So! I am looking forward to watching that as a recording. But for now, what I did get to watch…

Experiential Design for an Unknown Future

This session was pre-recorded. I really loved hearing from Mark Llobrera from Bluecadet, a technology company that serves the cultural sector. They seem to be doing some really cool and thoughtful work! He also shared a Tweet from @mia_out asking if people even WANT new experiences with a longer dwell time and a more complicated than a website set up? It has officially begun to haunt me as well, thanks Mark.

I really liked the concept of building content infrastructure as a storytelling platform. One idea that I really liked was creating a parallel audio experience for written/visual content, which sparked lots of ideas as a way of incorporating stories into AR projects that we are working on for next year.

One of my favourite online exhibitions I have seen is Americans at the National Museum of the American Indian. I had no idea that Bluecadet helped to build it. I loved the way that the objects were incorporated into the website alongside stories, videos, and audio files and Mark explained that they did this by building onto the physical gallery display. Immediately it was clear why this was such a successful online exhibition. 

Finally, Mark finished by encouraging us to meet people where they already are. People are on social media, they’re in Minecraft, they’re using their mobile devices. That’s the place where you should go. Balance these new experiences with familiar ones.

“Like” in the Time of COVID: #Musesocial and Emergency Planning

This was a useful session about social media for museums, especially in recent, more traumatising times. As museums hold a trusted role in society, Stephanie Brown and Sean Blinn discussed how they have began to use their platforms as a way to share important health and safety information with their followers. They discussed the best way of doing this: calmly and with a sense of humour to combat the misinformation and stress. 

This session was also pre-recorded, so it was good to tune into the Q&A afterwards and hear more from the presenters about the way in which they are managing this. 

Interaction Beyond the Touchscreen

This was a great session with panellists from around the world. It was a long discussion, so I will summarise with my key takeaways.

  • It was great to see that the Science Museum Group have done the same things of us in terms of touch screens: keep them where they are, but increase cleaning and make it more public. This was something we had many conversations about while we were still closed, and in fact if we took out all the touch screens we’d be left with a single gallery. In fact, their research has shown that if you turn touch screens into not-touch screens, people just keep touching them, so there isn’t much point in doing that.
  • The Science Museum Group are also looking to replace things requiring headphones to BYOD interactives. 
  • Styluses are not always ideal for a few reasons: accessibility (They require fine motor skills), sustainability (How are they made? Are they single use?), and cost (Potentially overwhelming.
  • More institutions are opening up to considering online visitors as visitors in their KPIs etc.
  • Interactives are the main way that visitors are able to take control of a visit, every other decision is made for them.
  • What are ways that we can measure impact on visitors post-visit? The Europeana Impact Playbook was suggested as one way.

Virtual Field Trip: Museum of Portable Sound

This was my highlight of the day! I loved hearing from John about his museum stored entirely in his iPhone. With 325 sounds collected over 10 years, a visitor map and guide and a pair of headphones, John meets people in cafés and public places so that they can visit the Museum. He talked a lot about attentive listening and how this can make his collected sounds more precious in a post-Spotify world. We then had a tour of the museum, with my highlights including John falling off a camel, Sigmund Freud’s toilet (guess what the sound file looked like), psithurism, and a street vendor’s traditional whistle in Portugal. I hope that one day I will be able to visit John’s museum in person, though I might need to set aside a whole day to do it.

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