Today, ARCHES was presented by the Museum Lázaro Galliano in the framework of the Meeting “Museos+Sociales” (http://www.mecd.gob.es/museosmassociales/presentacion.html) in Madrid. Thank you, Amparo López Redondo and Carlos Cavallé Pérez for explaining our views on integration, accessibility and museums for all to our peers in the Spanish museum scene.
15th Edition of The Best in Heritage
Dubrovnik, Croatia, 22 – 24 September 2016
in partnership with EUROPA NOSTRA
with support of Creative Europe programme & Endowment Fund of ICOM
We are looking for a researcher to work on ARCHES. This is an Horizon 2020 funded project involving partners in Heritage and Technology across Europe. The OU is leading the research component, establishing a range of participatory research groups to work with partners in Heritage and Technology across Europe. The researcher will have personal and/or professional experience of supporting people with intellectual and/or sensory impairments. They will have a post-graduate qualification (preferably a PhD) and will speak English + Spanish and/or German.
The 3-year project begins in October 2016. It will develop online resources, software applications and multisensory technologies to enable access to Cultural Heritage Sites within and beyond the project. Our partners include The Victoria and Albert Museum, The Wallace Collection, Bath University, Treelogic, Centro Regional de Bellas Artes de Oviedo, KHM-Museumsverband, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza and Fundación Lázaro Galliano, Signtime, ArteConTacto, Coprix Media and VRVis.
This is a fantastic opportunity to work on a highly innovative and ground breaking project. Details can be found at: http://www.open.ac.uk/about/employment/vacancies/arches-research-associate-12365
Disability. Dance. Artistry. is a free, daylong series of convening focusing on a future for dance created and experienced with disabled New Yorkers. Commemorating the 25th anniversary year of the Americans with Disabilities Act, it builds on recent Dance NYC research, Discovering Disability: Data and NYC Dance and is part of a three-year Dance NYC initiative to increase inclusion and access to the art form. Join keynote speaker Simi Linton and leaders in the dance and disability communities to discuss the state of the art form. What are the opportunities for educating, developing, collaborating with and presenting disabled artists? How can disability advance innovation, excellence, and impact in dance?
Disability. Dance. Artistry Registration is Now Open
Register now to join the conversation. Don’t miss this opportunity to increase inclusion and access to the art form of dance.
When: Wednesday, July 8, 11am-6pm
Where: John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 860 11th Avenue, NYC
Register: FREE. Registration is required. Please reserve in advance. Accessible seating is available. Requests for reasonable accommodations should be made in advance by contacting Dance/NYC at 212.966.4452 (Voice only) email@example.com. The event is in an open space around tables with chairs that are easy to remove. All seating will be accessible by default.
Reimagining the Museum: Conference of the Americas
Reimagining the Museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 2-4 will focus on institutional change and leadership transformation that encourages and sustains visitor-centered museums relevant to their communities.
The conference will feature three keynote presentations by influential thought leaders who will share insights into the 21st-century museum and the influence of globalization on audience engagement. Keynotes include Marcelo Araujo, Secretary of Culture, San Pablo State (Brazil), Lonnie Bunch, Director, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (US) and José Nun, former Secretary of Culture (Argentina).
Visit the conference website for more program details and to register by July 31
Europeans museums face many of the same opportunities and challenges as American museums: connecting with diverse audiences, providing access to collections and innovating museum practices will sound like familiar goals to Alliance Weekly readers. Like their American counterparts, European museums are creatively and successfully meeting these challenges. The Network of European Museum Organizations (NEMO) recently published Museums’ 4 Values – Values 4 Museums. The report explores the social, educational, economic and collection value of museums through short case studies of institutions of different sizes, disciplines and geographic location.
An excerpt by David Vuillaume, chairman of NEMO, explains the thesis:
Museums are not a luxury: they play an essential role in European life. They preserve and disseminate core values on behalf of society as a whole, using their collections as a basis to achieve reflective and social outcomes. They understand the importance of their role in the creation of knowledge and lifelong learning. Finally, they make a substantial and sometimes underrated contribution to the economic sector . . .
This publication gives you an overview of exemplary museum projects from all over Europe, many of which differ greatly in terms of geography, structure and theme. But whether in Greece or Finland, France or Russia, in museums of art, ethnography or natural sciences, in international networks, large institutions or smaller museums, the common thread that runs through all of these projects is how museums serve their visitors, in particular, and society in general . . .
After leafing through this publication, you will certainly be in no doubt that museums can, as much as their means will allow and thanks to the confidence that people have shown in them, offer society a greater sense of understanding, support and reflection on the long-term underlying trends that typify our modern world: globalization, individualization, digitalization, demographic changes, polarization, just to name a few. Museums cannot do everything, but they are able to foster discussions, encounters and ideas. At a time when the European continent is facing significant challenges, these services, resources and rooms for reflection are more vital than ever.
To read the full, free report, including the impressive projects at museums across Europe, please click here.
Reposted via the American Alliance of Museums Newsletter
The journal Exhibitionist invites proposals for its spring 2015 issue, Creating an Inclusive Experience: Exhibitions & Universal Design.
Proposals of 250 words maximum are due by April 13, 2015.
You can find the Call for Papers at: http://name-aam.org/about/news
Call for Papers Fall 2015 Exhibitionist
DATELINE: February 20, 2015
Creating an Inclusive Experience: Exhibitions and Universal Design
Proposals due April 13, 2015
In 2015, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA). To mark this milestone,Exhibitionist takes on the topic of “Universal Design.” While Universal Design evolved from Accessible Design—and uses accessibility as a starting point—it goes further. It recognizes that human abilities are wide-ranging, and that all of us, if we live out a typical lifespan, will experience some sort of functional limitation. For those involved with exhibitions, this means creating environments that are usable by everyone with the least amount of adaptation. It calls for creative and imaginative ways to engage the widest possible group of users.
For this issue, we seek proposals that focus on exhibitions as a whole—or on elements within an exhibition (such as media, technology, multisensory elements, label-writing, etc.)—that incorporate the principles of Universal Design.* The exhibitions (or installations) can be of any size, and take place in any of a variety of spaces: museums of all disciplines, historical sites, institutions that collect and display living collections, or other environments.
Proposals can also focus on broader institutional strategies for including Universal Design in exhibition making, or on teaching Universal Design to those who create exhibitions. Proposals might come from designers, curators, developers, writers, architects, educators, collection managers, or others who create and contribute to exhibitions. As much as possible, if a case study, research project, or student experience is submitted, the article should not focus on a single project or institution without raising questions or throwing light on larger issues that are widely applicable.
Submissions from colleagues and students around the world are welcome and encouraged.
Proposal due: April 13, 2015. 250 words maximum. Briefly describe your article; how it relates to the issue theme; and your background/qualifications for writing the article. Proposals will be vetted by our editorial advisory board, and you will be notified of acceptance or non-acceptance.
First draft due: June 12, 2015. 2,000 words maximum (approximately four single-spaced pages) with four to five high-resolution images, captions, and credits. Your article will be returned to you with comments and edits by theExhibitionist editorial advisors and editor.
Final article due: August 11, 2015
Please send all submissions via email to:
Ellen Snyder-Grenier (esnydergrenier at yahoo.com)
Editor, Exhibitionist, the journal of the National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME)
Accessibility for Under 100 Dollars
The following are ways to create more accessible facilities and programs for under $100. These ideas have been compiled from the participants at the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) conferences for Arts administrators and managers over the past 5 years.
Betty Siegel, Director of Accessibility
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- Add a cup dispenser to a water fountain that is too high.
- Adjust the gauge on a door to lessen the pressure and make it easier to open and close
- Ask local advocacy agencies to help you train staff and raise awareness.
- At a doorway that is difficult to open, have a doorbell that people can ring for assistance.
- Avoid glossy or highly reflective papers when printing program books or brochures.
- Be sure that staff always introduce themselves. Someone who is blind or has low vision may not be able to read someone’s name badge or recognize an ushers uniform.
- Be sure your staff know the accessible paths of travel and shortest routes around the facility.
- Bevel thresholds with pieces of wood.
- Color and shape code information.
- Contact disability organizations and host an open house for their members.
- Correct toilet heights with adjustable seats from Home Depot or other stores.
- Create lower counter areas by putting in tables.
- Don’t use red and green together. Many people have red/green color blindness.
- Encouraging people to ask for assistance.
- Focus on great customer service.
- Form an advisory board of persons with disabilities from the community.
- Have a clipboard available for transactions at a counter that is too high.
- In an elevator where the buttons are too high, have a wand available to push them.
- Include information about accessibility in your marketing materials.
- Increase lighting in dark areas.
- Install easy to use handles on the inside of the doors on wheelchair accessible bathroom stalls.
- Invite rehabilitation centers for people who are blind to use your facility for orientation training.
- Invite service animal training schools to do training at your facility.
- Join disability-related list serves to get to know the communities.
- Keep paths of travel 36 inches wide and free of obstructions.
- Lower labels on artwork so that short or seated persons can read them.
- Make labels for artwork or other things hanging around in large print.
- Make signage directing patrons to your access services prominent.
- Make unsold seats available to patrons who are on fixed and limited incomes.
- Move furniture, potted plants, and trashcans out of the path of travel to create an accessible route.
- Move soap dispensers and paper towels to positions that are easy to reach.
- Organize a pre-show touch tour.
- Place access symbols are on your marketing materials and maps.
- Place public materials on lower counters and tables.
- Place wood blocks or bricks under tables that are too short.
- Point out accessible routes of travel with signs.
- Print self-guided tours for people with hearing loss who couldn’t follow a docent.
- Produce programs, playbills and other print materials in large print -sans serif font,16-18 point.
- Provide maps of accessible routes of travel.
- Provide scripts in advance for people to read.
- Purchase a couple induction neck loops for your Assistive Listening Receivers
- Put light colored tape on the edge of steps or places where there is a change in level.
- Put non-slip material on slippery floor surfaces. NoSkidding.com has products for this purpose.
- Put together a speakers group to go out and talk to local disability community groups.
- Remind staff not to turn their backs when speaking to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Replace low wattage light bulbs with higher wattage bulbs.
- Replace round door knobs with levered handles.
- Send notices of audio described performance to patrons who are blind or have low vision.
- Send notices of interpreted and captioned performances to patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Train docents to modify language on tours to be appropriate for the appropriate audience.
- Train staff about accommodations provided and how to use them.
- Train your staff in how to use relay services. Don’t forget the nationwide 711 relay service.
- Try different types of alternative formats such as on audio options like tapes and CDs.
- Use e-mail distribution lists to target audiences for specific events.
- Use high contrast paint colors between walls and floors to help people with low vision navigate.
- Use high-contrast colors on labels for art work. White on black, or black on white.
- Use pump style soap dispensers.
- Utilize technical staff expertise to create accessibility.
- Wrap pipes under sinks with insulation so people don’t burn themselves.
- Write an easy to understand synopsis of the play and have it available at the box office.
Repost of an article by Mark Piesing from publishingperspectives.com
How UK Museums Use Mobile Tech to Enhance Visitor Experience
UK museums are adapting publishing technology to their needs and using mobile apps to re-invigorate the way visitors explore their spaces.
LONDON: When I stepped through the doors of the Natural History Museum in London I seemed to have travelled almost as far back in time as the exhibits.
In this land that technology had forgotten there didn’t seem to be any public Wi-Fi and instead I had to rely on 3G to open a website only whose homepage was optimized for mobile. When I wanted to know more about the exhibits it was easier to check Wikipedia about T-Rex than fight through the crowds to see the displays or struggle with a site which seemed more interested in telling me how to get to the museum rather than about the monsters I was seeing when I was there.
When I eventually found the museum’s café there I didn’t see a single tablet or laptop as its public Wi-Fi seemed to be a closely guarded secret. In fact the Wi-Fi was actually leaking from the Treasures gallery above and I was finally able to use an app designed by the museum to start argument with my young son about whether dinosaurs had actually turned into birds.
For mobile evangelist Mathew Petrie, this is an all-too-common mobile experience for visitors to museums in the UK – museums that have perhaps in the past been more worried about the Starbucks effect of “having people with laptops filling up their cafés” if they installed free Wi-Fi, rather than interested in what their visitor’s expect. Petrie is president and founder of Fusion Research and Analytics, which has for the last year being conducting research for some of the country’s best-known museums including the Natural History Museum into how their visitors use mobile.
“Lots of people in the museum community would now like to do a lot of things, but they need to cover basics first,” he says. “Museums have to understand audience needs before starting to build systems.”
According to Petrie, the Natural History Museum has already commissioned research to understand visitor mobile device ownership, usage expectations and current behaviors. “The Museum has also used this research as a platform to assess the potential for new mobile application development for content engagement and other on-site activities.”
Petrie’s research for the UK museum sector suggests that three quarters of UK museum visitors now come equipped with mobile and tablets, “but very few museums engage with them.” Only about 13% of museums have Wi-Fi, and of those that do, “most don’t even promote it.”
Mobile, though, is more than just QR codes that “few people use” or providing free Wi-Fi (although that is a good place to begin). It is more than just publishing a couple of apps that soon languish forgotten and un-updated in the app stores or the “souvenir app” for big exhibitions.
Getting Visitors to Explore the Museum in New Ways
Getting mobile is about understanding what visitors want before they visit, whether they are there from close to home or far away. It is about how what they want may differ between smartphone and tablet users and Apple and Android, as well as between young and old. It is about getting visitors to explore the museums in new ways and even to play games where security guards used to shout “No running.”
“People want to search, to effortlessly get more information more quickly, but 50% of visitors are from outside of the UK and they turn off data roaming to save money,” Petrie says. Tablet users tend to want a deeper experience of their visit but not necessarily in front of the exhibit.
“Like anything to do with technology, museums are quick to want to follow it, but adapting it to the museum space is another thing.”
For Dianne Greig these “well-documented” problems are evidence of a lack of robust visitor data to inform strategies – specifically demographic, experiential and behavioral research. Greig is associate director (digital) of Scottish digital development group Culture Sparks.
Too often, she thinks, “responsibility for ‘mobile’ can often sit across teams – marketing, technical development, digital – making collective decision-making a challenge and impacting on the museum’s responsiveness.”
Then research can easily be siloed so that “the intelligence that does exist, in large institutions can often become ‘stuck’ within departments.”
The result of this is a lack of understanding of the whole customer journey, with mobile becoming a “one size fits all” approach and a “fixation with apps” based on little more than “the fact that other museums and galleries are creating them.” When in fact, Greig argues, a website optimized for mobile would be much more cost-effective to produce.
Yet Petrie cautions that “museums are probably doing what they should be doing, being cautious and protecting their brand to avoid alienating people.”
Mid-size museums “may have a few people with the skills and the dreams but not necessarily the authority to go do it.” So better research can provide “more ammunition” for these people to get “more resources. If you have the skills you can have big impact.”
The Huntzz app allows museum-goers to create their own treasure hunts and tours.
Mobile to Play a Big Part in Future
Mathew Cock, head of Web for the British Museum, agrees with Petrie and Greig that “an increasing proportion of visitors to the museum do want to look at the museums on mobiles.” The museum will soon be publishing its digital strategy, in which “mobile is expected to play a big part.”
“We do have a very high proportion of visitors from abroad – and they have to rely on 3G as we have don’t have public Wi-Fi.” As with many Victorian museums, Wi-Fi is difficult “due to the old and huge buildings and the many galleries.” It is “something that will hopefully happen in the next three to four years.”
Within their website they are starting to do more things aimed at mobile, but beyond the home page most of the site is not designed for the mobile visitor. “In the future there are a couple of gallery projects that we might make apps for or have content designed for visitors and which might have Wi-Fi.”
At the moment the Pompei app is “still our main project,” designed by an outside agency owing to a tight timescale. The app is tied in with the museum’s 2013 blockbuster exhibition “Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum” and its Pompei Live film that was broadcast live to 250 cinemas in the UK in June almost like a “private view” and shown round the world in a recorded form.
“Apps are very difficult to keep relevant and maintain sales, so you need a presence for them outside the app story. So there are spikes in downloads when it is broadcast.”
“We have learned a lot from it as a trial for future exhibitions.” The tablet version was much more popular than the phone version – despite the phone app being cheaper. The tablet app is content-rich and the phone more useful than educational.
“It’s not a yes or no answer,” says Hugh Wallace, head of digital media, National Museums Scotland, to the question as to whether UK museums have been slow to adapt to digital.
“I saw some of the early inventive apps, and museums were actually quite ahead of the game compared to some of the big brands. However, while there are now a lot of inventive conversations happening, organizations themselves are not necessarily at the forefront of innovation.”
As in other sectors, “there has been a tendency for shiny things rather than things that add value to visitors’ experience,” he admits. “However, there is an openness, honesty and reality-checking that you probably wouldn’t find elsewhere.”
Funds are partially an issue: “Bigger players have opportunities to test and learn more than smaller institutions who may depend on one make-or-break project a year. They also have more funding from commercial organizations who are happy to get good PR.”
Wallace believes that a “better Web presence” is the best option for many museums as “apps can be an expensive one-off” and “relatively few apps have performed at the superstar level to make it a viable proposition.”
Experimenting with Gamification
The National Museum of Scotland has three different apps, including a treasure hunt-type challenge, the highlights of the National Museum of Scotland, and Capture the Museum, which is being developed. The website is also being re-engineered for mobile.
“Capture the Castle has prototype funding. It is a fast and furious team game with each team trying to capture flags to capture different territories in the museum.”
In the future Wallace believes mobile for museums will be about “location technology, gesture-based interfaces and 3D interfaces.”
“For the first time I am seeing nice bits and pieces of affordable tech that could change my world: some augmented reality that doesn’t for once look like a PR stunt.”
Ultimately, despite the temptations, he believes that that “the museum community has to be led from the experience perspective and not because the technology is there. Museums are good at overloading due to the way interfaces have been designed.”
For Mathew Cock only a handful of national museums that have a development team will be able to do this in-house. “The app space is fast-moving so there is a risk taking it on by yourself.” Virtual technology is likely to be the future but, again, “the cost could be high.”
Third party apps like Huntzz now allow museums and visitors to create their own treasure hunts and tours.
Diane Greig argues that “More data analysts are needed in the sector to turn raw data into actionable intelligence.”
So perhaps Mathew Petrie’s dreams aren’t too far-fetched: “If in a few years’ time you could say that one in four of visitors are using Wi-Fi then that would be huge.”
This entry was posted as http://publishingperspectives.com/2013/12/how-uk-museums-use-mobile-tech-to-enhance-visitor-experience/ on December 10, 2013
ART BEYOND SIGHT AWARENESS MONTH 2013
The Lithuanian Library for the Blind offers a special educational program. It includes a tour of the Lithuanian Library for the Blind and a visit to the Lithuanian Blindness History Museum (a department of the Library). The Museum’s permanent collection contains exhibits and photographs revealing the 85 years of education of the blind in Lithuania (since 1927). Education became possible thanks to the war-blinded veteran Pranas Daunys, who adapted Braille alphabet to the Lithuanian language. There is a display of Braille books published by the Lithuanian Union’s Publishing House in 1963–1992, illustrated with tactile graphics by professional artists. The visitors will try to write Braille with slates and styluses, and create their own tactile drawings on a piece of a foil. Also, there Museum offers a temporary display of tactile textile books created recently by Lina Norkiene, a visually impaired folk artist and a social worker.
The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) presents APH InSights 2013, the annual international art competition organized by the American Printing House for the Blind (APH), will be showcased at The Hyatt Hotel (Louisville, KY) on Thursday, October 17, from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., Friday, October 18, from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 19, from 8:00 a.m. until noon during the 144th annual meeting of Ex Officio Trustees of APH. Admission to the exhibition is free and the public is also invited to meet the artists on Friday, October 18 from 4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Entries cover a wide range of subjects in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography. The exhibition includes the first, second, and third place winners chosen in each of the nine categories, along with a selection of other entries. Three judges from Louisville selected the featured works from 409 entries. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information including entries for the competition in 2014.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents a Multi-Sensory Evening– Beer and Wine Tour from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Chart your own path in the New European Paintings Galleries, 1250–1800 by embarking on a visual tasting tour along the beer route (northern countries) and the wine route (southern countries). Visit five paintings from the Netherlands, Spain, and France and talk with experts at each work of art to connect paintings with the taste and social history of wine or beer.
After exploring the galleries, head to the nearby Great Hall Balcony Bar to check out theTasting Tour Menu, which includes beer and wine flights from related countries.
- Explore The Annunciation, painted in the fifteenth century by Netherlandish artist Hans Memling, with educator David Bowles and learn about the role of wine in liturgy.
- Join educator Joseph Loh and historian and beer aficionado George Schwartz for a conversation about Dutch beer and Merrymakers at Shrovetide by Frans Hals.
- Step into the chaos of a seventeenth-century Dutch home by investigating Jan Steen’s The Dissolute Household with educator Alice Schwarz.
- Enjoy The Afternoon Meal (La Merienda) by Spanish painter Luis Meléndez with educator and art historian Inés Powell in conversation with wine consultant and journalist Chris Fleming.
- Travel back in time to the moment champagne was invented during a conversation about The Picnic after the Hunt by Carle Vanloo with educator and art historian Kathyrn Calley Galitz and Andrew F. Bell, President of American Sommelier.
The gallery portion of this event is free with Museum admission. The Balcony Bar menu is available for purchase.
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA invites you to experience selected works of art in the Sculpture Park through touch. These specialized tours led by deCordova’s experienced Museum Guides provide unique access to selected sculptures through a tactile tour designed for the visually impaired and other multisensory learners. Touch tours start at 1:00 p.m. and are free with Museum admission. Visitors who are blind or visually impaired are welcome at deCordova throughout the year. Please contact email@example.com to schedule a specialized tour. Service animals are welcome. Visit www.decordova.org.
The Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, WI is offering a multisensory gallery tour and hands-on art experience for individuals with low vision and blindness from 10:30 a.m. – 12.00 p.m. Join Paul Rhymer, artist in residence, as he successfully melds his work as a taxidermist and bronze sculptor. A second-generation Smithsonian taxidermist, Paul worked for twenty-five years as a model maker and taxidermist at the National Museum of Natural History. He recently served as a judge on the AMC TV series “Immortalized,” a competitive taxidermy reality show. Rhymer also is an avid birder and bird hunter, pursuits that inform his mounts and his sculpture. During his residency, Rhymer shares insights from his dual careers, including lost-wax bronze casting demonstrations, taxidermy tips, and programs for a range of all ages. Call (715) 845-7010 to register or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Lighthouse Club for the Blind visits the University of Cape Town Irma Stern Museum
Visitiors will enter through the Zanzibar Doors, usually closed to visitors, and discuss Irma, the woman, the collector and the artist with verbal imaging of selected works. There will be opportunities to touch Zanzibar carvings, African masks, some of Irma’s furniture as well as one of her palettes and several brushes. Flower arrangements to extend our discussions will allow for multi sensory appreciation. Each participant will be able to catch something of Irma’s energy in small individual arrangements of flowers from her garden. For more information, please contact Sandra Eastwood at email@example.com.
Full Program: http://www.artbeyondsight.org/change/aw-calendar.shtml
Participating Organizations: http://www.artbeyondsight.org/change/aw-participants.shtml