Websites, moderated and hosted by a museum, that offer a virtual space for people to gather around a common experience, exhibit or interest, the way a bricks and mortar museum does.
Jury Chair: Lindsey Green, Head of Key Accounts
Antenna Audio, United Kingdom
GOLD: Total Solar Eclipse: Live From China
Judges said: The overall picture of the Exploratorium project is one of high quality, from the use of well-chosen platforms to the rich content published on the site before and during the Eclipse. By implementing the site so well and focusing on an inspiring event the project has engaged a large and diverse range of visitors in both real world and second life. The jury felt the passionate comments left over such a long period of time demonstrate a high level of connection by the audience and the creation of a truly motivated community.
The Exploratorium also has to be congratulated on developing this project over a number of years to encourage more and more community participation. The 2008 site joins those from previous years to form a high quality resource on the subject of the eclipse whilst also documenting the reaction of those who witnessed the event.
Producers said: On August 1, 2008, the moon slid between the earth and the sun, creating a spectacular solar eclipse. Working in partnership with NASA’s Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum, the Exploratorium sent a team to remote northwestern China to capture this awe-inspiring event in a live Webcast. We offered several ways to see the eclipse: at an all-night sleepover at the museum, on our Web site, or in our “auditorium” in the virtual world of Second Life. The response was overwhelming. More than 700 people camped out at the Exploratorium and enjoyed music, dance, roving astronomers, and more along with the Webcast–plus about 100 museums used our feed to host their own eclipse events. Live telescope feed of the eclipse was also carried by NASA TV and shared with NASA Learning Centers. In the days before and after the eclipse, 640,000 people from 190 countries, representing 136 different languages, viewed our eclipse Web site. More than 96,000 people watched the Webcast live; nearly an equal number of people viewed it the next day. And in Second Life, about 136 “people” (avatars) from England, Italy, Thailand, the United States, Canada, and other countries watched the eclipse together live.
SILVER: Actions: What You Can Do With the City
Canadian Centre for Architecture and Bluesponge
The bi-lingual site captures the guerilla nature of the exhibition it supports and empowers the audience and artists to participate in the physical community and to share this online. The interactions, design and content all delivered an attractive and interesting experience and this clearly encouraged visitors to participate. By offering a range of different interactions, the site felt inclusive and promoted a high level of engagement that can be seen in the quality of the debate and contributions it inspired.
Producers said: The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), in collaboration with Bluesponge, created a bilingual microsite related to its major exhibition Actions: What You Can Do With the City. Actions explores how everyday human actions such as walking, playing, recycling, and gardening can animate and influence the perception and experience of contemporary cities. The Actions microsite offers a toolkit through which the 99 actions presented in the exhibition can be sorted and browsed in multiple ways, including combinations of tools employed in the action or the curatorial organisation of the exhibition. In addition, the site challenges users to respond by posting their own initiatives to improve the city through individual action. These user contributions are added to the databank of actions, and can be sorted and viewed alongside those featured in the exhibition.
During the four months following its launch, the microsite collected 138 contributions from various continents and from all targeted audience segments including university students in architecture and related fields, practicing architects, artists and designers, and members of exisiting subcultures, such as skateboarders and practitioners of parkour. The microsite brings these groups together, and their exchanges expose an international community of ‘actors’ who are influencing their cities in positive ways.
BRONZE: A Global Online Community
International Museum of Women and Mediatrope
Judges said: Through the Global Online Community, the International Museum of Women has successfully applied community-based technology in a way that strikes a chord with their audience. The well designed structure and clearly defined purpose of the site has enabled the large group of subscribers to participate and share their creative work and ideas. The power of the site and the community it has enabled can be seen in the pro-active approach of its members.
In addition to this, the jury members were thrilled to see a truly international group of subscribers to the site who felt comfortable to share their inspirational stories and discuss the challenges they face.
Producers said: The online community of the International Museum of Women (I.M.O.W.) is a global, multi-lingual platform with 8,000 registrants from 177 countries. I.M.O.W.’s robust social networking tools allow artists, advocates, educators and women young and old to come together, dialogue about important issues, share their work and lives, and inspire action towards a better world.
The I.M.O.W. platform supports English, Arabic, French and Spanish, and its interactive tools integrate seamlessly with our online exhibitions. Following the museum’s message of exhibiting change, individuals and organizations can create visually engaging profiles; send private messages; upload images and files; tag, comment and rate exhibition stories; participate in forum discussions; post events to the community calendar; “curate” a mini-exhibition within their profile by selecting favorites; recommend action opportunities; and submit content to our online exhibitions. Educators can also use our tools to create a custom learning experience for students to explore exhibition content, engage in discussions with visitors from all over the world, and even submit their own creative work to our exhibitions.
Together, I.M.O.W.’s global online community and award-winning online exhibitions are supporting the museum’s mission to value the lives of women around the world and to amplify their voices through technology.
HONORABLE MENTION: Astronomy Photographer of the Year
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich
Judges said: The Astronomy Photographer of the Year project uses Flickr to reach out to a community already actively photographing the stars. The Royal Observatory then enhances the service by building an exciting partnership with astrometry.net, offering the opportunity to astrotag each of the photographs entered. The additional appeal of the project is the carefully chosen supporting activities such as SMS alerts of key photo opportunities and skypeing astronomy specialists. These create a comprehensive opportunity to engage with the museum and its subject matter. This project uses a creative combination of free API’s and partnerships to generate a community without a budget.
Producers said: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich (ROG) recently launched a suite of digital astronomy services, now brought together through a new annual competition and exhibition, Astronomy Photographer of the Year.
This is a competition for everyone who loves the night sky, from young photographers to professionals. It has a home on our website, but also a home-from-home—our Flickr Group, where we reach an enthusiastic photography community. Flickr also lets us do the space equivalent of geotagging: astrotagging! We worked with Astrometry.net, whose scientists built us a robot to automatically tag photos with the equivalents of latitude, longitude, scale and photo orientation. This adds huge science education potential and enables web developers to make things. We’ve started with astro-photo overlays in Google Sky and hope to montage pictures together and create a zoom function for display in the exhibition. We’d also like astrotagging to become a widely-used standard for describing astrophotography.
Alongside this are two complimentary services. The Biq questions answered podcast gets real voices ‘on the line’ via a Skype answering service. And Prime Sky—our guide to the night skies above Britain—can be browsed online, or from a mobile, with text alerts for this year’s big 10 astronomical events.
Charlotte Sexton, Head of New Media, The National Gallery, London
Jane Burton, Creative Director, Tate Media
David Souden, Head of Access & Learning, Historic Royal Palaces, Tower of London
Matthew Cock, Head of Web, British Museum
Silvia Filippini Fantoni, Lecturer, University Paris I – Sorbonne
Dr. Louise Govier, Clore Leadership Fellow for Museums
Rebecca Lim, Head of V&A South Kensington Exhibitions, V&A