Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Docent In Your Pocket"

Another New York Times article, this time addressing how museums (in this case, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) can attract "millennial generation multitaskers." The solution? "The event included handing out to museumgoers iPod touches loaded with a rich mix of pictures, interviews, video and graphics exploring 200 pieces in the institution’s permanent collection."

"Like almost every major art museum in the country, according to communications officers here and in other cities, the San Francisco institution is using mobile multimedia devices — iPods, iPhones, BlackBerrys and other smartphones — to tell the stories of its exhibits in new ways."

The article details how a variety of museums are re-inventing the "audio tour" by allowing guests to use hand-held devices to "go deeper" into the shows and exhibits. What's most interesting about this article is what's not stated -- that the battle to bring museums into the digital age is over, and now it's all about the best ways to integrate the analog and digital worlds.

"New Guard Steps Up" (NY Times)

The New York Times profiles a group of young, ambitious museum curators. Key quote -- "This is a generation who grew up entirely in the digital world and they are untroubled by distinctions of media."

Take-aways include:

• Young, ambitious curators create exhibits that attract young audiences, many first-time museum goers.

• These curators understand that creating exhibits is the art of story-telling.

• (from the article) "They don’t simply organize exhibitions, they also have a hand in fund-raising and public relations, catalog production and installation." They are able to see every part of exhibit creation, including raising the money and promoting it, as one piece.

• They also understand the importance of "reaching beyond the museum walls" to reach guests, connect them to the museum, and empower them to connect to each other.