Museums

Why Museums Should Dive Into VR

Monday, September 11, 2017 Comment museum VR

As a young child, I took this photo, of the Franklin Museum’s Giant Heart, my way of expressing my love for this immersive, interactive experience. A few decades later, last month, I returned with my colleagues, on a field trip from NYC to Philadelphia, to visit this venerable institution and learn how they’d been implementing their newest museum-wide strategy for immersive, interactive experiences, but this time using virtual reality. Led by Susan Poulton, their Chief Digital Officer, I learned that the future might be arriving sooner than expected and museums need to develop more agile practices


Digital Learning in British Art Museums

Monday, August 21, 2017 Comment kids with signs

Disclaimer: The Tate Modern is one of my favorite museums. My previous apartment held a place of honor, above the couch, for a poster I picked up there. And, in 2014, I interviewed the developers of their awesome app, the Magic Tate Ball (re: Using “String and Sellotape” To Build the Magic Tate Ball). So, imagine my excitement when I was recently introduced to Kathryn Box at the Tate Gallery in London. Kathryn manages and produces content for the Tate Kids website and the Tate Kids social channels, which focuses on games and films and articles


Augmented Reality and Learning in Museums

Thursday, February 02, 2017 Comment AR in museum

When I read Camillia Matuk’s The Learning Affordances of Augmented Reality For Museum Exhibits on Human Health, I knew I wanted to speak with her about AR and learning. Camillia is assistant professor of educational communication and technology at New York University (with a Ph.D. in the learning sciences from Northwestern University, an MSc in biomedical communications from the University of Toronto, and a BSc in biological sciences from the University of Windsor.) She does design-based research investigations to better understand how innovative technologies and learning environments can better support teaching and learning. Q: Camillia, thank


The DigitalLearningification of Museums

Thursday, December 15, 2016 Comment Child looks through VR glasses

This past October, I had the pleasure of presenting in Irvine, California at the new home for the Digital Media and Learning Conference on digital learning at museums. With my colleagues Eve Gaus of The Field Museum and Rik Panganiban of the California Academy of Sciences, we tried to identify the leading trends we’ve seen emerging in recent years, given our different vantage points as advocates for digital learning in our respective museums. Playfully titled “The DigitalLearningification of Informal Learning Centers: Lessons from Three Museums,” we tried to make the case that museums are unique and


Providing Museum Access to All Through Open Badging

Thursday, December 03, 2015 Comment outside museum and city landscape

When the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) a few years ago announced it was doing away with museum membership (gasp!), it made big news. Its membership was replaced with an open-badging system called DMA Friends, open to visitors, new and old. I recently contacted Robert Stein, DMA’s deputy director to learn more about DMA Friends, how it empowers visitors, and the ways museum officials analyze the resulting big data to better serve their city. Hi Rob. Please introduce yourself and the Dallas Museum of Art. I’m Robert Stein. The DMA has been in Dallas for 112


How Games Transform Museum Experience

Monday, October 12, 2015 Comment group of students playing computer games at museum

Officially, James Collins is the Digital Media Project Manager at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, working across all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, and the National Zoo. But, to me, as someone deeply interested in how games can transform museum visitor experiences, he’s the right guy in the right place at the right time. His email sig reads “Games are a series of interesting choices.” Yup, the guy I want to speak with. I ran into James recently at the Serious Play Conference in Pittsburgh and we sat down to explore his


How a Digital Pen is Turning a Museum into a Library

Thursday, June 25, 2015 Comment wall projection poster of digital pen being used in museum person holding pen

Right now, in New York City, a digital pen is turning a museum into a library — a 21st century library, that is. And, its potential impact across civic and cultural spaces offers considerable lessons for those interested in participatory and digital learning and the future of museums. If, like me, you work in a museum you’ve probably already guessed what I am talking about, as it’s all the buzz: the newly renovated Cooper-Hewitt’s Pen. The Cooper-Hewitt is the Smithsonian’s design museum located in NYC within the stately Andrew Carnegie Mansion. After a six-year renovation project,


Augmented Wearables and the Future of Museums

Thursday, March 05, 2015 Comment wearables man wearing virtual reality headset pointing at living room covered in minecraft buildings

Wired’s recent cover article, “Microsoft in the Age of Satya Nadella,” is a fascinating piece about how the software giant is aiming to reposition itself to remain dominant in the next operating system revolution. They missed the boat when the rest of us migrated from desktops to mobile devices but, this time, their sights are focused on the next potential disruptor: augmented reality wearables. And, Microsoft’s unanticipated new play in this space was announced in January: Project HoloLens. The article rightly grouped HoloLens with Google Glass, Oculus Rift and the largely-unknown Magic Leap. It’s hard to


Defining Digital Media, Museum-based Learning Connection

Monday, September 29, 2014 Comment people gathering around dinosaur at museum

Clive Thompson is a longtime contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired. I recently had the opportunity to bring him to my office in the American Museum of Natural History, tour the dino halls, and explore how his new book — “Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing our Minds for the Better” — can help us understand how digital media can support museum-based learning (read full interview). At the end of our tour, we explored what his book has to say about Connected Learning and work funded by


Badges For Learning Series, Part 3: A Case Against Standardized Badges

Thursday, June 05, 2014 Comment group of students working together on ipad in classroom

In my first two posts in this series (“My Beef With Badges” and “Getting the Full Picture”), I called on the emerging badging community to stop conflating our aspirations with our achievements and then modeled one way to share a more accurate picture of the challenges we all face. In this post, I would like to address my challenges with a vision often shared for digital badges, namely the creation of a broad badging ecosystem. Amongst those like me who aspire to see the flourishing of robust badging systems, to capture and reflect the rich learning