Entries include tours of specific locations that include in-gallery hand-held audio tours, PDA tours, podcast tours and cell phone tours.
Jury Chair: Nat Sims, Media Design & Production, NIGHT & DAY STUDIOS, Portland, Oregon
GOLD: MauerGuide / Berlin WallGuide
Antenna Audio Germany/Discovery Tours
Judges said: Excellent use of mulitple media. Innovative, takes advantage of mobile-device technology. Points of interest thoughtfully chosen, well supported by documentary materials (including video) and strong writing and narration. Good clean sound design; video is a real plus—not because it’s video for video’s sake but because the footage provided added real depth to the experience. This project points to the future of mobile tours.
Producers said: The Berlin WallGuide, also known in Germany as the MauerGuide, provides a detailed tour of where the Berlin Wall once stood. “Where was the Wall” is still the most frequently asked question of visitors to Berlin, but the WallGuide tour does not only cater to tourists, as many Berlin inhabitants don’t know (or don’t know yet) where the Wall exactly stood, following the immense changes to the city over the last twenty years. The aim was to offer an innovative instrument to discover the last visible traces of the Berlin Wall and to create intelligent “edutainment,” accessible for everyone (ages fourteen and above). The hand held multimedia guide presents a digital map of the city of Berlin and the course of the Wall with a rich collection of audio and multimedia content relating to twenty-two points of interest along the route of the Wall. The combination of the design, content and GPS functionality within the WallGuide has created an innovative, educational and entertaining tool for users to explore the geography, history and social implications of the Berlin Wall. Visitors to Berlin now have the opportunity to experience historic audio and audio-visual content first-hand, whilst standing in situ at specific locations.
SILVER: A Visit to the City of the Sun
Cahokia Mounds Museum Society and Schwartz and Associates Creative
Judges said: Strong visual style, good use of unifying graphics, map, and especially 3D animation to add back into the present landscape a pervasive sense of another time with historical information and hypotheses. Very well organized tour with good spatial sense. Breaks new ground in the difficult work of combining a traditional walking audio tour with a cutting edge AV tour.
Producers said: Cahokia Mounds is one of twenty World Heritage sites in the United States. Archaeologists call the Native Americans who built the giant earthen mounds the “Mississippians” … and Cahokia was their crowning achievement. At its peak, the population approximated 10- 20,000 with 120 mounds contained within its six square miles. This place … eight miles east of St. Louis, MO and in Southern Illinois…is the largest prehistoric Indian site north of Mexico.
Approximately 300,000 visitors visit the Cahokia Mounds Interpretive Center each year, but other than a trip to the top of the largest mound, few tour the grounds. As a result, many of Cahokia’s greatest stories are missed. Our project’s goal was to encourage the general public to walk the outside trails and help them: understand the context of what they are seeing; orient themselves within the expansive space; relate different mounds, one to another; experience the sights and sounds of the past through stories, visuals and soundtrack design.
To meet our goal, three iPod Touch tours were created. At each stop, videos comprised of artists’ interpretations of life nearly 1,000 years ago, photographs of archaeological finds, and animated reconstructions can be accessed. Tours are available in English, Spanish and German. Children’s versions are being planned.
BRONZE: California Academy of Sciences Green Tour and Exhibition Highlights Tour
California Academy of Sciences and Antenna Audio
Judges said: Strong graphics, quality audio content and production. Interesting choice of stories and perspectives, generally well-supported with visual content. Handsome interface design that adapts and extends traditional audio-wand codes on the wall with new touchscreen elements. In its look and feel this tour is particularly well paired with the institution it describes.
Producers said: California Academy of Sciences audience includes a broad spectrum of people, from school groups, to first time visitors, to longstanding repeat visitors and families. The goal of this project was to have visitors at the California Academy of Sciences experience a true behind the scenes look and feel of the new academy. A multimedia tour was chosen over a traditional audio tour so that the Academy’s stories could be augmented with images, video and interactives, to help deepen the visitor experience. Two divergent tours were decided upon for the audience. The Highlights Tour addresses the historic exhibits that are carried over from the old building as well as the new exhibits featuring a three-story rainforest and state-of-the-art aquarium. The Green Tour focuses on the sustainable architectural and green elements that are incorporated into the design of the new building. Both tours reveal behind the scenes information that is not available on text panels or current interpretation. The Academy’s overall goal to be sustainable was met by using an electronic map thus eliminating the need for paper maps. An original tailored interactive map features multiple floors of the Academy, and helps visitors to navigate the many exhibitions.
A multimedia tour was chosen over a traditional audio tour so that the Academy’s stories could be augmented with images, video and interactives, to help deepen the visitor experience.
It was important to CAS that visitors experience a true behind the scenes look and feel of the new academy. Visitors hear directly from academy scientists and through video and images get up close and personal with a variety of fish, rainforest ants and South African penguins at the academy. Visitors learn about the living collections and the historic exhibitions such as the Swamp and Africa Hall. The tour features special underwater recordings, a spectacular video of trap jaw ants jumping, and interactive features that help identify the wide variety of fish in the coral reef and Farallon island aquarium exhibits. This tour features a short image documentary of the history of the academy as well.
The Green Tour helps visitors discover the sustainable features such as the energy efficient heating and cooling systems of the building. Many of these features are not obvious to the naked eye so images of what is behind the walls, under the floors and in the bathrooms help enhance visitor understanding of how these systems work. Green architectural features of the academy are explored such as the living roof and the use of the Piazza architecture to heat and cool the building.
HONORABLE MENTION: An Audio Walk through Houston’s Museum District
Houston Museum District Association and Audissey Guides
Judges said: Very well thought-out audio tour with a pleasurable and imaginative use of sound and space. This tour should serve as a model of civic access to a wealth of cultural content. Updating this project as a mobile-device tour with a graphical interface, visual content, and compatibility with various visitor-owned devices would make for a truly unparalleled project.
Producers said: “An Audio Walk” is a progressive audio tour designed to guide visitors and locals through Houston’s Museum District. The 90-minute tour is a powerful way to educate listeners about museum locations and collections. The tour itself is also a work of art: it is at once experimental, emotional, meditative, and purely beautiful. Strolls through sculpture gardens and parks are often free of any narration whatsoever, instead showering the listener with original sound compositions that enhance the physical surroundings. The tour is produced in “real-time”; the narration and sound design occurs in perfect synchronicity with the visitor’s footsteps. The effect is one of exhilarating immersion. The listener is no longer a passive participant in the tour experience, but an active protagonist in it. There is a surprise around every corner: a Holocaust survivor shares her escape from Nazi-occupied Poland, in front of the Houston Holocaust Museum; the words of Mahatma Gandhi echo during a stroll through a rose garden; the tour even incorporates a ride on the city’s metro rail into the experience. The tour was commissioned by the Houston Downtown Management District in partnership with the Houston Museum District. The tour was produced by Audissey Guides.
Julie Beeler, Studio Director Second Story Interactive
Kathryn Bertschi, Senior Exhibit Developer Oregon Museum of Science & Industry
Rose Bond, Media Producer & Instructor Pacific Northwest College of Art
Larry Johnson, Producer/Director Museum Media, Inc.
David Nicandri, Director Washington State Historical Society
Greg Shine, Chief Ranger & Historian Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Susan Tissot, Executive Director Clark County Historical Society & Museum