Entries can range from audio tours on devices to video and audio podcasts that create links between on-line and/or on-site activities and programs, exhibits, and lectures, creating an augmented and extended experience to a global audience.
Jury Chair: Lynda Kelly
Manager, Web and Audience Research, Australian Museum
GOLD: Spatial Audio Guide
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, Potion Design, and Variate Labs
Judges said: This was a highly innovative product that effectively enhanced the visitor experience. By integrateing technology to replace labels, this device encourages and enables visitors to have a private and contemplative experience worthy of the subject matter. This is especially relevant for the particular collection objects that relate to extremely difficult and potentially upsetting content. Another good feature is the ability to sync to videos already playing near-by. It is highly appropriate to the content, with ability to hear stories direct from witnesses. A major attraction is that content is completely updateable via the CMS which enables it to be remain current in a sustainable way. The ability to track user behaviour, provide metrics and easily make changes based on user-data is another outstanding feature.
Producers said: When visitors enter the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust they are immediately given free spatial audio guides. These guides become an integral part of the visitor experience by replacing all text labels in the museum with interpretive audio information. As visitors walk through the museum they can listen to narrative descriptions of artifacts and hear audio for all videos playing throughout the museum.
When visitors find an item that they are interested in, such as a drawing of Egon Ledec, they use the guide’s touch screen to navigate a list view of the museum’s ten galleries. In this view, they see an overview of the content in each gallery and simply click to move from one artifact to the next. Alternatively, the visitors can jump to information about a particular artifact by entering the four-digit code associated with each artifact. By typing 1091, visitors learn about Egon Ledec, a violinist for the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra who was murdered at Auschwitz.
These guides are unique in their use of high fidelity digital audio and the degree of autonomy they offer visitors. Visitors can control video playback by starting videos when they approach a display or viewing videos that are already playing.
The custom CMS is easily maintained and updated by museum staff. A live monitoring system allows staff to keep track of the number of guides in use and gather metrics on the user experience by collecting information on which videos, displays, and objects visitors are most interested in.
SILVER: Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
J. Paul Getty Museum
Judges said: This project was by far the best audio tour in terms of meeting a perceived audience need. This really encouraged children to engage directly with artworks. Clever questioning and well-narrated content encourages them to look deeply into the processes of developing artworks. The different approaches for each painting added interest and help keep their attention, while making the tour light-hearted with a sense of fun. A very good example of what a great audio tour should be when designed by a cross-disciplinary team for a specific audience.
Producers said: If works of art could talk, what might we learn? We created a fun audio tour that allows nine animals depicted in the Getty Museum’s collection to speak for themselves. Designed for families and anyone with a sense of fun, the audio brings animals in diverse paintings, decorative arts, and sculpture to life. Listeners learn the “when, where, why and how” of the objects in a fresh, whimsical, yet informative way.
Each work of art features a different animal’s voice, complete with a distinctive accent and personality. For example, a small bronze boar invites listeners to look closely at the details of his fur to explain the technical process of chasing bronze, comparing it to how listeners can make marks in a chocolate bar with their fingernails. Sound effects suggest the boar is being chased on the Museum’s hardwood floors, the way children know best. In another audio stop, two carved lions that support opposite ends of a carved wood Renaissance chest describe how they were made from walnut trees–plus how they had to be separated for a “time out.”
“From the Horse’s Mouth” was created around the permanent collection as an enduring resource in partnership with the Museum’s education department. The tour facilitates closer looking, and encourages an appreciation for the stories contained in every work of art – whether historically accurate or imagined.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, Cortina Productions, The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Simon & Schuster Audio, Random House Audio, and Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Judges said: This project deserves a mention as it brings to life complex subject matter. The ability for users to take photos and videos throughout their visit and then email to themselves later was also a strong feature. It truly deepened and broadened the visitor experience.
Producers said: To enhance the tour experience of the Reagan Presidential Library Museum guests through the use of current technologies and social media, the Reagan Foundation developed a new medium that provides opportunities for the visitor and the Foundation to hear, capture, and share information.
Using “iPod Touch” technology, the GuideCam™ was created with a four-pronged mission:
Audio Tour: Offers guests the ability to hear, through produced audio, the voices of President and Mrs. Reagan at 50 programmed stations supported by corresponding screen images.
Camera – Photographs and Video: At any point during the tour, the visitor simply touches the camera icon to take either still photos or video. Guests record their museum visit by taking up to 40 photographs and 16 one-minute videos.
Media Sharing: When visitors return their GuideCams™ at the completion of their tours, their personal photos and videos are sent to them immediately via email for sharing on social websites like Facebook or Twitter.
Data Capture: Following the visitor’s departure, each GuideCam™ is placed on a dock system that extracts data from the device to report how guests interacted with the new museum layout and the exhibits, thus providing invaluable museum data back to staff.
Overall, benefits are two-fold: a better experience for the visitor and accurate data tracking the visitor’s preferences in the museum. Like the Great Communicator who applauded innovation, the GuideCam™ Media Tour connects the viewer to the Library on all levels: sound, sight, and memory, reaching to multiple levels of human interaction.
Senior coordinator of online programs, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Head of Exhibitions, Web and Creative Services, Public Programs and Operations, Australian Museum
Online Producer, Australian Museum
Project Assistant, Operations Division / Grants & Internships Coordinator, Australian National Maritime Museum
Michael van Tiel
Producer, Family and Community Experiences, Powerhouse Museum