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Page history last edited by Nancy Proctor 15 years, 8 months ago

What can the museum do in-house? 


I. Experience Design


Experience design is probably much better done in-house than by external suppliers. Who better than the museum team understands how visitors move through its spaces, and the questions, interests and needs they have at any given point? That said, good experience design should be informed by actual visitor research: formally or informally, the museum needs to hear from its visitors and could probably benefit from the support of experienced research professionals in interpreting visitor feedback so that the mobile program can respond to those needs accurately. (See 'Outsourcing'.) - Nancy Proctor, Smithsonian American Art Museum


II. Content Production


I think that a lot of the execution depends on budget and desire.  At the SJMA we do not have a lot of money but we do have the equipment and the desire.  All of our content is produced in-house by myself and my colleague, Lucy Larson, Manager of Interpretation. Outsourcing is really not an option for us due to budget constraints.  We have an HD video camera and a wireless mic and we go out and shoot the video ourselves.  It's brought back to the museum where we sit and edit it down, extracting the "nuggets" to create an interpretive piece.  While I do not yet consider myself a professional I do think that the pieces that we have created have been close in quality to what I might see on local arts programs.  This is due in part to the excellent tools that are out there for editing, including Final Cut, Garageband, iTunes, Quicktime, etc. (Yes, I'm an Applephile!).  Our museum recently won a MUSE award from AAM based on the quality of production done in-house. - San Jose Museum of Art (Chris Alexander)


III. Technical Development


I would prefer not to outsource programming and other technical development work. For easy and inexpensive on-going maintenance, I'd rather keep the code and the technology in-house, or at most use open source systems which allow the museum to rely on a larger community to support ongoing development at minimal cost. Mobile museum interpretation is a low margin business for vendors, and the constant rate of change in the technology makes it an unstable market; I'd hate to be stuck with a proprietary system once the vendor has gone out of business, or is simply charging through the nose because I'm locked into their technology. (Witness the infamous SI-Guide project, which has left many Smithsonian Museums with a bunch of content designed for a technology solution that is no longer suppported...) - Nancy Proctor, Smithsonian American Art Museum


Programming: iPod Touch

The iPod Touch tour is created from my knowledge of web design.  It is constructed using XHTML, CSS, and a iPhone JavaScript framework.  This is obviously a more specialized area and might require more time for learning. There are a lot of excellent resources out there.  Apple has a free option for developers that allows access to all their documentation for creating iPhone Apps and Web Apps (http://developer.apple.com/iphone). In addition there is a great resource for iPhone web developers through a Google Group called iphonewebdev (http://groups.google.com/group/iphonewebdev).  While this may not be a practical approach there are small museums out there that have web specialists on their staff to maintain their websites.  This person could easily implement a tour by reviewing the two resources above. - San Jose Museum of Art (Chris Alexander)



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