[A31] - Museums and the Strategic Choice of Interactive Interpretive Tools
Chana Moses, The Courtauld Institute of Art, United Kingdom

Workshop: [A31] - Museums and the Strategic Choice of Interactive Interpretive Tools

As museums find themselves vying for public attention as never before in history, they are using a range of tactics from blockbuster exhibitions to architectural marvels to lure the public. The one necessity that remains constant is the need to ‘deliver’ the art to the public in an effective way.

The choice of interactive technology in addition to more traditional interpretive tools deserves strategic planning and careful consideration. As museum staff react to the revolutionary late twentieth-century shift in focus to pleasing a diverse and increasingly multi-media demanding audience, it may well prove critical to their future success to examine this issue in the present. The diversity of museum technology in the market is mind-boggling. Particularly for museum archivists, the long-range forecast of a costly program demands the consideration of many factors: audience and staff needs, realistic maintenance, overall usability, lifespan of the technology, etc.

This workshop will address various advantages and disadvantages of using interactive interpretive tools through past and current research and case studies in order to assist others in their strategic planning. We will review interpretive tools in use at several major museums in the UK, as well as, the implications of tying these tools to the 'online collection'.

I. Background

A. Definition of ‘interactive interpretive tool’

B. Beginning of the Computer Generation: 1968 ICA show: Art and Technology progressing to R.L. Rutsky’s theory of technology’s aesthetic and "constructivism to cyberspace".

C. Education, entertainment, both? Tim Caulton- Hands-on exhibitions/ beginning with Oppenheimer’s Exploratorium

D. As an educational (interpretive) tool

II. Educational Research and Exemplary Projects

A. Stephanie Koester’s Instructional Technology Report

B. Charlie Gere

C. Xavier Perrot

D. National Gallery- Micro Gallery

E. British Museum- ‘Compass’

F. Tate Modern- wireless tour guide

III. Case Study: The V& A; Results of Public Survey

IV. Breakout Session/ What Are the Issues and Goals in Your Organization?

V. Important factors to consider when choosing interactive technology

{cite museums of varying size, content and locale}

A. Museum Content/Audience/ Location and Size

B. Volume of Usage: The Who, What & Why

C. Structure/ space: Strategic placement

D. Relationship to the Website: Copyright Issues.

E. More emphasis on permanent or temporary exhibitions- Once used for a temporary exhibition will it come to be expected?

VI. Options/ levels to go interactive

A. Technologies On the Market:

[traditional terminals and kiosks to VR and everything in between]

B. Future trends- Recs. from some leading firms

1. Antenna Audio

2. System Simulation, Ltd.

3. Cognitive Applications


VII. Conclusion- Evaluation of forms for each attendee + recommendations

Published: 09/01/03
Last updated:

This conference is one of the International Cultural Heritage Informatics Meetings (ICHIMs) held every two years since 1991. See for further details, and past Proceedings.


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