Entries include tours of specific locations that range from in-gallery handheld audio tours, PDA tours, and podcasts tours to cell phone tours.
Jury Chair: Guillermo Miranda de las Heras
Web & New Media, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid Spain
GOLD: Imagining Lincoln and Juarez
Chicago History Museum and Ed Herrman
Judges said: Congratulations to this great team and the project. They have experimented with two exhibitions in order to prepare for a permanent display on the history of America. The research undertaken has been assessed extremely highly, not just regarding content but also the reflection undertaken on the role of the narrator and the idea of redefining how to impart history. It also takes account of the differences between the Museum’s aims in their research and the needs of teachers. This outstanding project combines a traditional format with new technologies, with good audio quality and good sound effects that add context.
Producers said: “Imagining Lincoln and Juarez” audio tour at the Chicago History Museum engaged middle and high school students through immersive soundscapes for companion exhibitions on Abraham Lincoln and Benito Juarez. Moving away from traditional didactic approaches to teaching history, the museum’s School Programs Team worked with independent producer Ed Hermann to use the affective qualities of sound. In contrast to the usual format of narrated tour, this experience featured sound effects, music, and sparse use of spoken word to create a sense of historical time and place; the goal was to provoke students’ imaginations and create an impressionistic, emotional basis for viewing the two exhibitions, making the museum visit more vivid and memorable. Using pre-programmed iPods and an accompanying worksheet, students were immersed in the exhibition space through sounds that created a mood, affectively engaging them with the content and collection, and in turn, connecting them to history. The program comprises six individual tracks with a total running time of 24 minutes, acknowledging the target audience’s desire to be independent learners by exploring, making choices, and sharing their perspectives. Tracking and timing studies demonstrated significant increase in student time spent in the exhibitions, and deeper engagement with the themes.
SILVER: Neaq Mobile Tours: NEAq Insider and Blue Impact
New England Aquarium and Untravel Media
Judges said: We consider that the project presented by New England Aquarium is remarkable for its magnificent endeavor of research and notable educational emphasis. This educational feature goes beyond the content of the aquarium, on the one hand exploring the relationship between what happens in the aquarium and ocean life, and on the other, looking at concern for climate change. It offers a close-up focus on global issues and encourages reflection. In addition, the content will reach many other types of audience.
This is a wide-ranging project that also offers the option to download in numerous formats, including the option to visualize through YouTube on mobiles. Also very positively assessed was the potential for user participation, the effort to subtitle the videos in different languages and the project’s wide-ranging concept of accessibility, particularly that of the audio guide.
Producers said: The New England Aquarium worked with Untravel Media to develop two video tours for mobile devices and online viewing, in order to deepen the visitor experience—providing guidance on what to look for, and in depth science content; reveal the “invisible” Aquarium—showing connections between exhibit animals and their wild counterparts, behind the scenes activities, and the Aquarium’s research and conservation field work; and
increase access—offering multiple formats and languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese and Hearing Impaired versions) for in-person and virtual visitors.
Comprised of 8-10 stops, the short episodes in each tour combine to tell a larger story. “NEAq Insider” highlights the most intriguing animals and exhibits, providing tips on how to observe behavior and illustrating shared characteristics with humans. “Blue Impact” focuses on human impacts on the ocean such as climate change, and how visitors can help, allowing visitors to explore concepts in more depth than otherwise possible. According to the Boston Globe “Without the mobile guide, visitors would probably not hear the roaring boom of the goliath grouper or learn that Judith, the 300-pound sand tiger shark, is usually gentle despite her fearsome rows of teeth. And the right whale would remain a mystery.”
BRONZE: They Call Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust
The Jewish Museum and Acoustiguide
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: Through his artwork, Mayer Kirshenblatt lovingly recreated his boyhood town in Poland over 50 years after leaving it. Visitors to the exhibition, They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust, discovered a lost world of Jewish life in Poland captured in astonishing detail in more than 80 vibrant drawings and paintings. Through the Acoustiguide audio guide tour, visitors were able to listen to Mr. Kirshenblatt himself telling the stories that were depicted in the paintings. They could also hear conversations with the artist’s daughter, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, a noted scholar of Jewish culture, and contributions from scholars in the field of Jewish history and ethnography. Some selections were also recorded in Polish and Yiddish. Target audiences included The Jewish Museum audience (members and repeat visitors), domestic and international tourists, metropolitan New York area museum-goers; and those with special interest in folk art, Yiddish language and culture, and Polish history and culture. Nearly 6,000 visitors took the audio guide tour. We received very positive feedback on it, and were pleased to note that it was used and enjoyed by visitors of all ages.
HONORABLE MENTION: Pacific Asia Museum Poetry Tour
Pacific Asia Museum
Producers said: Inspired by art and architecture throughout the museum, the Poetry Tour at Pacific Asia Museum uses one art form to explore another, and links one viewer to another. Rather than providing facts about an object, the tour provides another person’s vision as a means of interpretation and inspiration for the listener.
Pacific Asia Museum features an extremely wide-ranging collection representing Asian and Pacific Island cultures over thousands of years. It is our mission to share the human stories behind these diverse objects, helping make connections between eras and peoples. Within the Poetry Tour, the most humble daily tools share the stage with items from the imperial palace, linked by their ability to inspire.
By providing the Tour via cell phone, we are able to track usage and allow listeners to respond by leaving their own messages. The content can also be heard, downloaded, or read in transcript form on our website.
Created by Pacific Asia Museum’s Amelia Chapman and Sarah Bloom and the talented poets of Poets on Site, organized by Kathabela Wilson. Xiao flute by Rick Wilson. Audio Production by Julian Bermudez and John Rabe. Funded in part by the Jeanne Ward Foundation and Katharine Audrey Webb Foundation.
Javier Pantoja, Web Manager, Museo Nacional del Prado
Alejandro López, Owner / Director, GTP Museum Solutions
Javier Espadas, IT Manager, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
Pilar Gonzalo, Web programmes, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Rufino Ferreras, Educational Development, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza
Ana Álvarez, Applications, Training and Content. Dirección de Sociedad Digital
RED.ES, Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio, Edificio Bronce
Koldo García, Owner / Director, The Mad Pixel Factory
David Calzado, Communication & Marketing, La Casa Encendida. Obra Social Caja Madrid