I heard an interview (online) today with Chris Alexander from the San Jose Museum of Art. They are doing some very cool stuff with iPod Touch devices and a wifi network in their museum. The interview is podcast on the here.
If you don’t have the time to listen, these are the main points that I picked up:
- they are mainly using it for a current exhibition and also to feature the work of some of the artists in their collection who have been filmed at work in their own studios;
- they have a multi-use approach with delivery of the same material via many platforms using their YouTube channel, RSS, iPods that visitors can check out, a wifi network in the museum and as audio files on their website;
- they were originally using video iPods in “notes-only” mode, so they were locked down for use specifically in the museum;
- they are now using iPod Touch devices because they offer a better interface and more possibilities including the upload of user comments (not quite there yet);
- they deliver all content to visitors via a wifi network or website only available in the museum, so that saves synch-ing or updating 20-30 devices for new or changed content;
- if you don’t have an iPod or iTouch you can check out one of 20 they have now and they will eventually have 30;
- other US museums experimenting in this space include MoMA (NYC), SFMoMA, Denver, but Chris says a lot of museums are looking at using the same technology;
- he said the URL for their online iPod content was sjma.mobi but on a computer terminal it comes up as http://www.sjmusart.org/m/#_home;
- Chris said they go into the artist’s studio and film them working, but only one in 30 has declined their suggestion to do this and some of the artists have embedded their YouTube vids on their own sites too; and
- again he mentioned their intention to use the devices to allow users to upload their own comments about their experience.
I reckon this is a great model for us and many other museums. I’m not sure whether their wifi content will only work on Apple’s devices and I think that might be a bit limiting in an Australian setting.
SJMA’s home page is here: http://www.sjmusart.org/