Entries include websites, online collections, online image databases, and online exhibitions. Entries should present and interpret museum collections and themes, and provide a rich and meaningful virtual experience. Projects should demonstrate effective use of multiple media formats, innovative ways of complementing physical exhibitions or providing surrogates for physical experiences in online only exhibitions.
Jury Chair: Sebastian Chan, Head of Digital Services and Research
Powerhouse Museum, Australia
Indianapolis Museum of Art
Judges said: A wonderfully designed site that was full of engaging high definition content, quirky memorable design, and full of little touches from Creative Commons licensing, external embedding, multiple sign-on platform support, and more. All of this is especially impressive for an in-house project.
It is obvious that ArtBabble has an enormous potential with hints at collaborations with other institutions with similar video content by and about artists. This is clearly a very well thought through site with the emphasis on cross-institutional content and an emphasis on audience sharing, communication and engagement.
Producers said: The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) launched ArtBabble.org in January 2009. Produced, programmed, and designed by an entirely internal team at the IMA, ArtBabble showcases the IMA’s extensive, self-produced video library, and is the museum’s – and also the museum-field’s – answer to YouTube and other video sites.
Understanding the importance of the visual quality of video art, ArtBabble allows viewers to choose multiple resolutions including HD. By incorporating timed ‘notes’, the IMA was able to associate additional content with a video as it plays. From links to artists, bios on Wikipedia, or photos on Flickr, viewers can explore facts and anecdotes related to content, extending their interaction beyond the passive act of watching a video. Visitors can share observations, promising lively conversation from visitors of varied backgrounds and levels of art expertise.
ArtBabble incorporates the best of digital media and Web 2.0 tools with a clever design, creating a platform for community engagement beyond traditional video sites. ArtBabble is also supported by other organizations, serving as an expansive online channel for multiple museums video content. It’s a model for how technology can facilitate deeper engagement and discourse. The site is fun, educational, user-friendly, and above-all, mission - driven.
SILVER: Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists
Judges said: An incredibly rich resource full of fascinating content and especially engagingly written – full of humour and personality. This depth of content was slightly hampered by navigational quirks and slightly confusing information architecture, but Ice Stories is an exemplar of online science communication and storytelling.
Producers said: Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists gives the public an up-close-and-personal look at research in the Arctic and Antarctica through the thoughts and experiences of scientists working there. In celebration of the International Polar Year and with funding from the National Science Foundation, the Exploratorium gave scientists cameras and blogging tools, provided training, and asked them to document their adventures so the public could follow their research, pose questions, and share in discoveries as they occur. Staff-written articles on topics including climate change, the history of polar exploration, and more provide context for the dispatches. During research seasons, the Web site was updated daily and there were several Webcasts a week. Viewers can comment or ask questions on the Web site, or talk to a scientist in real time during a Webcast. Exploratorium staff traveled to the poles to speak with scientists during live Webcasts, and to produce videos and other media. Ice Stories offers Twitter and RSS feeds, live Webcams, and video and audio dispatches from the “deep field.” The result is a pioneering use of digital media on a blog platform that lets scientists present their work directly to the public in a lively, engaging, and immediate way.
BRONZE: Quilt Explorer
International Quilt Study Center & Museum and Second Story Interactive Studios
Judges said: An interesting approach to a niche collection database. The Quilt Explorer encourages
exploration with a delightful focus on engaging storytelling through lo-res video with a
appropriate community feel, and an interesting approach to allowing users to compare,
comment and share.
Producers said: The International Quilt Study Center & Museum has the largest public quilt collection in the world, with quilts from dozens of countries and spanning hundreds of years. Bringing this significant collection to audiences worldwide, the Quilt Explorer provides site visitors with unparalleled access to high-resolution images and details on over 1000 quilts from the collection. Visitors to the site can zoom in on each quilt image in order to study details such as quilting stitches and fabric prints, and can learn about the history of each piece. The site gives visitors the ability to develop and manage personal collections of quilts in the My Collection portion of the site. Within My Collection, visitors can curate and publish “threads”—exhibitions of quilts that they order and annotate for other online visitors to browse in the Threads gallery. Providing historical context for the collection was another goal of the site: the interactive timeline of quilt and textile history helps visitors appreciate how technological, economic, and social developments have affected quiltmaking. Advancing a more technical understanding of quilt design, the Make a Quilt section gives visitors the freedom to select patchwork blocks, fabric styles, and stitching patterns to create their own one-of-a-kind virtual quilt. And because we know that making a quilt is often about telling a story, we installed two Quilt Story kiosks in the Virtual Gallery of our museum, giving visitors the opportunity to record a short video about what quilts mean to them; these videos are also viewable by people from all over the world on the Quilt Explorer website.
HONORABLE MENTION: SFMOMA Redesign
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Judges said: Redesigns are difficult to judge because so much of what they are is determined by what they were previously. SFMOMA have done a good job in reconstructing their site in its entirety with a nice overall aesthetic and inter-linking features.
Producers said: In November 2008, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) launched a redesigned website, www.sfmoma.org. In keeping with SFMOMA’ institutional mission to stimulate greater engagement with modern and contemporary art, the site offers a fluid space of exploration in which visitors can easily navigate between the online collection of over 7,000 artworks, hundreds of videos, audio files, and interactive features about art and artists in the collection, and information about special exhibitions and events. One of the primary goals of the site is to provide the Museum’s online audience with a much fuller set of stories about the art and artists in the collection, with layered access to different levels of information aimed at users with varying interests and amounts of knowledge.
The site would not have been possible without grants from the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The website design was undertaken by Hot Studio (www.hotstudio.com), with technical implementation by Carbon Five (www.carbonfive.com). The in-house team was led by Chad Coerver, Director of Publications, Graphic Design, and Web; Dana Mitroff Silvers, Head of Online Services; and Andrew Delaney, Web Production Coordinator.
Dr Lynda Kelly, Head of Online, Audience Research and Eureka Prize, Australian Museum
Courtney Johnson, Web Editor, National Library of NZ
Jonathan Cooper, Manager of Information / Website, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Dr Angelina Russo, Faculty of Design, Swinburne University, Melbourne
Dr Fiona Cameron, Research Fellow, Museum & Cultural Heritage Studies, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney