Best of the web #MW2014 – Digital Exhibition

“What do you think is the role of web in the GLAM sector?

“Woof. Woof.”

“That’s deep, man. I mean dog.”

I’m on holiday in the UK, sat on the sofa at my family’s house, conversing with the dog as I rue missing #MW2014. (Unfortunately, sometimes friends come first. And as my dear friend is getting married next week, I need to step up and do my bridesmaidly duty. If I was a true digital nerd I would have made a 3D hologram of myself for the wedding instead.)

Instead of discovering the delights of Baltimore, I’m perusing this year’s Best of the Web nominees from the comfort of home. The selection of websites has blown me away: I intended to do one blog post to cover all the sections, but there are too many excellent projects to narrow it to just a few! So instead, here are my picks of the Digital Exhibition category.

Collection Wall

I love this idea. A huge, interactive, touch screen wall at Cleveland Museum of Art, featuring works of art from the Museum’s permanent collection. Artworks are grouped by theme, type, material etc., as well as curated by staff and visitors. Visitors can borrow iDevices or use their own devices to create their own tours to take into the galleries.

Collection Wall appeals to me for several reasons:

  1. The sheer novelty. I’ve never seen anything like this in Australasia or Europe (if you have an example, please share!)
  2. The personalisation of the museum experience that it enables for visitors: visitors can curate their own personal tour, instead of being dictated to by the layout of the building.
  3. The interaction with the museums collection it enables, and the possibility of discovering something you may have overlooked whilst wandering the gallery.
  4. Cleveland Museum provide devices for visitors to use, instead of simply assuming that all visitors have their own devices (they don’t – and that’s an assumption I’ve seen several museums make).

If you have any experiences with using the Collection Wall, or similar digital tools, I’d love to hear from you. Or indeed, if you’re aware of any evaluation of the Collection Wall that Cleveland Museum have shared, please do let me know!

For more information, see:

#MW2014 Best of the Web nominees: Collection Wall
Blending Art, Technology & Interpretation: Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gallery One & ArtLens

Orinoco.org

Screenshot of Orinoco.org website

Screenshot of Orinoco.org

A beautifully designed website telling the story of the ethnic groups of the Amazon. It supported an exhibition of the Coleccion Orinoco in Santiago de Compostela, Spain in 2013, but tells its story well enough to stand alone in its own right. I particularly like the use of strong images, especially of people, enabling the visitor to connect to the topic.

My concern about these type of websites is how to keep them fresh and relevant once an exhibition is over (often a funding issue). In this case, the content seemingly remains the same, so does not merit many re-visits from a casually interested layperson (except, of course, to share the content and discovery of a beautifully made website with others). Nevertheless it’s certainly worth investigating from both a design and content perspective. In addition, the website is an excellent educational resource for students in a wide age group due to the beautiful imagery and informative text.

www.orinoco.org/

Some Were Neighbors: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Screenshot of Some Were Neighbors

Screenshot of Some Were Neighbors

This is a brilliant example of digital storytelling: revealing, compassionate and informative. The website deals sensitively and intelligently with a difficult topic, furthering our understanding of the Holocaust. Discover it for yourself: Some Were Neighbors

Full disclosure alert! I work for the organisation that made Collections Online and @Adkin_Diary, so I won’t be talking about those for fear of accusations of bias, shameless promotion and chicanery.

Enjoy #MW2014 if you’re lucky enough to be going. I’m looking forward to following the action on Twitter. In the meantime, I’ll go back to conversing with the dog. Woof.

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