Week 8: Museum Websites and Digital Storytelling

I really enjoyed the videos from LACMA’s website. In fact, before this assignment I actually didn’t know there were such videos, despite having visited the website quite a few times previously.

I liked how there were different types of videos – some entertaining, some informational, and some educational. The one that especially appealed to me was the Past Exhibitions: New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic, 1919–1933. Watching this video felt like I was given a private tour about modern German art. The curator did a great job narrating the historical facts and tying them in with interpretations of the artworks. I also liked the camerawork: it switched from the curator to paintings on the wall, to zoomed-in shots of the paintings, really shaping the storytelling presentation and making it feel real and dynamic.

Some educational videos, like on Khan Academy are very useful. I especially like that website for learning about math and sciences. That format, however, would not be appropriate for discussing objects and artworks, I think, because it’s too static.

There are many factors to consider when making a digital storytelling project about an object, and I think the way it should be done and presenting will vary based on the object, or at least type of object. For example, for smaller, cultural objects such as masks, pots, vases, plates, mini-statues, etc. – I would expect a lot of close-up shots of the actual object. Also, I would expect some images or clips showing how that object is used in its natural context. Also, given that today we can also have 3-D representations, it could be interesting to integrate a clip of the 3-D interaction with the object if there is any interesting detail to reveal that is not observable using basic videocamera. For larger objects and/or presentations, I would also expect shots of the curator, or other visitors in order to understand the scale of it.

Week 8

I think there are contradictory expectations for a museum’s online presence to be cutting edge while also being accessible and providing information not in the galleries themselves while also presenting new information. While this may not be fair to the museum, it reflects the varied visitors to the museum websites. To be successful, I think there is a need for museum digital content to be accessible to everyone. While they are online, museums need to meet their public where they are, mainly social media like Instagram, twitter, and Facebook. While most museums have been present on twitter and Instagram, I think Facebook has been losing attention. This, while sites like Buzz feed are taking off, primarily from their content being shared through Facebook. Personally, I really enjoy videos like those we looked at from LACMA where the viewer can get a glimpse into the functioning of a museum. It would be interesting, however, to see a museum flood the internet with short and funny videos about their collection and things related to it.

For online classes, a practical option that I would have loved as a high schooler would be an online supplemental AP Art History course that draws on the collection of an encyclopedic museum, like LACMA, that I would have been able to visit and tangibly see. This would probably be more popular with students who could actually visit the museum. The opportunity to study a work and then visit it in person can be an eye-opening for a student. On a more random note, I would love to take a class on period dress, learning the evolution of fashion, particularly in the 17th to 19th centuries. A class like this could be illustrated with actual outfits in a museum’s collection, along with paintings and other works of art that depict the fashion of the time of commissioning.

The most effective digital story telling that I encounter is that on the radio. Podcasts my personal go to for when driving or walking to class. This American Life and Serial are both radio based shows that have has success because of their particular presentation of stories to their listeners. KPCC recently began a culture show called The Frame. It looks at art, film, and general pop culture. I love it because I am presented with new artists, musicians and films that I would not otherwise see, however they rarely spend time talking about actual art. Understandably so, it’s hard to talk about such a visual art form without images, or at least soundbites. I think this would be really interesting for a museum to tackle, as an authority on culture, museums are really in a place to fill this void and begin literal conversations on their collections, exhibitions, and current events in the art world.

Week 8 Blog Post

I found the videos LACMA presented on their site to be really interesting, I like being able to see the intent behind artist’s work. I thought this added another layer to the art pieces that wouldn’t have previously been there – and found it to be really effective. When it comes to presenting museums digitally, I feel that it would present itself from a more educational stand point. Like what was presented in the LACMA videos, for example the artist’s intent, or an analysis of the work.

As for a digital storytelling example, I thought I would use the KONY 2012 craze. I thought it was really interesting how many people it greatly effected and moved enough to either donate or share their idea. Because of this, I thought it would be interesting to examine it and see what exactly in this digital storytelling caused it to be so powerful during that time.

As for educational online videos, I have always loved TedX talks. I think they are effective because it is usually for a 20 minute period and is a crash course on a very specified topic. I think that the 20 minute shot of information is effective because a lot of the time if something goes on for longer than that my attention would sway. Also the content being presented is usually an interesting take on a topic. Not just educational but delving more into the topic and how it relates to humans or the body.

Week 8 – Digital Storytelling

Personally, I feel that the use of technology (in regards to the traditional definitions of technology, rather than our class’s understanding) is only most useful to museums if it engages the audience in a way that current print mediums cannot. Otherwise, the need to use technology renders useless. For example, if the idea is to reduce waste by using less paper for museum pamphlets through the increase of digital posters — it is successful in the sense that it creates solutions but I feel a strong need for interative elements beyond moving visuals. The beauty, for lack of a better word, in the use of technology is its capabilities to connect people beyond the physical realm, give answers to questions instantaneously, and to take a viewer into a different world essentially (may it be interactive interfaces that are clickable to immersive 3D environments with the virtual reality headsets). Thus, a museum’s virtual presence should be immense– it should unveil artwork in a way that the audience and understand the context better or experience differently than just seeing a work on the wall.


Also, despite lack of popular opinion, I personally enjoy online classes, such as Code Academy and Lynda. The reason being is the flexibility in the nature of online courses. For example, Lynda has the courses transcripted in the description with the ability to read ahead and highlight key phrases. Furthermore, for those who are pressed for time but want the most of the learning experience, Lynda allows the chance to change the speed — something that cannot be done in a real life class setting. If I zoned out Ina real class, that moment of learning would be lost; yet, the ability of online courses provides a way to go back in time and relearn what was forgotten as well. A pitch for an online course that I would take is how to make an effective anthropological video journalism work– how to properly and ethically interview and delve into social and cultural stories (so toes are never stepped on and cultures are respectfully represented). I feel that hear are important topics to discuss and share with a world wide public (beyond the physical realms of classroom settings).


A digital storytelling work that I find interesting is http://queeringthemuseum.org/previous-projects/digital-storytelling-project/

because it delves into the stories of an underrepresented community.


Week 8: Gone Home

What do I expect from a museum’s digital presence? For me, personally, I expect a sense of coherence and unity between the digital space and the physical objects on display. Incorporating new and exciting technologies sounds creative and fun, but sometimes it fails to connect the viewers with the objects. I think that technologies should always come after the objects unless the point trying to be made is that the technology is art. It is a difficult task to bring together modern and antiquated themes together without causing disorientation and confusion. But I don’t think museums should sacrifice their intents by trying to keep up the image of being a new modern place. Museum’s digital presence should be engaging and informative but also act as a supplement to the patron’s experience without being overpowering.

I love online courses and have taken several during my time here at UCLA. I appreciate the idea of learning at my own pace and studying in the comfort of my own bed, even though this seems counterintuitive. I’m really interested in Java courses on edX and Python courses on coursera. As a Statistics major, I have done a lot of data analysis and coding in R, but I would like to expand my coding skills into something more widely used like Python.

Last year in summer, I took a course in Gender Studies that focused on the impact of media and the representations of race, gender, sexual orientation, and class in media. One of our final assignments was playing a game called Gone Home. It is an interactive game where the player navigates through the house through the perspective of a female protagonist to find clues and hints about where her family is and what happened while she was away on a trip in Europe. This is by far one of the best digital storytelling piece I have come across. It engages the viewers and the players by putting them into the protagonist’s shoes. The player has to pick up clues and hints around the house to put together a story of what might have happened, and the story is very captivating augmented by the music and sounds. I couldn’t help but feel scared, worried, relieved, and curious constantly while playing the game. It still has me mesmerized by the sheer quality and contextual depth of this interactive game. I think this piece tells a story that is relevant and important to our generation.

Week 8 Blog Post

I personally expect a museum’s digital presence to enhance the works of art within a museum, rather than replace or overpower it.  I think that museums can utilize technology as a way to disseminate their information to a wide rage of audiences to gain attention.  I also believe that museum’s can utilize the transition into the digital space to change their role in a community or in the art world from a site of colonialism to a site of diversity.

Looking through the courses on coursera, I found that the Data science class developed by Johns Hopkins would be the most interesting to participate in for the course of a whole year.  I think that the information presented in this course would be extremely interesting and beneficial in multiple disciplines.  Similarly, since it is focused on data and manipulating data structures, working on the computer may make it easier to understand the translational process form lecture to practice.

I have found http://www.makers.com/about which utilizes digital storytelling to empower women.  The website holds a collection of digital storytelling processes and gives insight into the lives of powerful and impactful women in society. Check it out!

Week 8 Blog

What I expect digitally from a museum is more interactive expereinces that were not before possible. Unlike traditional objects in a museum, digital objects don’t degrade the more they are used. I expect digitally from a museum some kind of digital show or exhibit and also digital tools that help curate the museum experience should a patron want it. I think that digital tools and experiences should be available to patrons but not imposed on them if they want a more “authentic” or traditional museum experience.

With online education becoming more available and popular, I can say that I have completed online courses in the past. I have taken an html course on code academy and a javascript course on Lynda. What made my classes enjoyable and implored me to finish them was that everything I was learning I could use immediately in real time. A course that I might pitch might be an art history course where instead of just images and facts, one could see a 3D render of the object in discussion (assuming its not an image) and create annotations of what the work of art can tell us about its time (i.e. what scratch marks came from or what textures tell us about how an object was made).

An example of digital storytelling that I found interesting comes in the form of Lizzie Bennet’s diary which was originally published online as a youtube series. Interestingly enough, this piece of digital story telling was then published in print as a book. I find this interesting because we often see movie adaptations of books but with digital storytelling becoming a tool for self publishing, a book is no longer the only way to tell a story with low financial risk. Digital story telling is changing how we tell the stories and how they become popular or available.

Week 8

In regards to the videos that are present on LACMA’s website, I find them all incredibly intriguing. For me personally, I love to know what goes on behind the scenes or why an artist makes what they do. Because I work in film, my favorite part is listening to an interview with a director to learn more about how they were able to accomplish something as spectacular as a motion picture. Because of this, I greatly enjoyed listening to Ed Moses discuss the art that he created.

When it comes to what I expect from a museum digitally – I don’t expect much. The first museums I visited were in Spain for a culture class I took there and I didn’t notice anything at all. (To be fair, I’m sure there were some digital aspects, but without looking I didn’t see any) And now to take this course and to learn all of the developments museums have been making, I have a whole different viewpoint. I guess I would expect them to have some form of social media presence and website. However, from there I am still excited to see anything of interest (like the behind-the-scenes interviews).

If there were an online class that taught real life skills pertaining to a job, I would pay attention to that. For instance, I would benefit from learning how to write a press release. If there were ever some sort of video that could teach me how to do one without having to consult my supervisors, I would take it in a second.

I’m not sure if this will count as digital storytelling, but the first thing I thought of was the Virtual Reality experience for The Walk. This film tells the story of Philippe Petit, the man who walked across a tight rope between the twin towers. This experience gives a little background of the story by playing the trailer and then actually puts you into his shoes to try and complete the walk. I can say from experience that this is so realistic most people can’t even take the first step. I know I couldn’t. I feel like virtual reality will be the next step in digital storytelling.


Week 8

I think digital storytelling is a great asset and way for museums to implement their digital presence. When I see any digital media, I’d personally expect it to be easy to understand, use, and follow. I also expect it to be interesting. I cannot stress enough the issue of the digital divide in society today. It’s important to be able to reach out to all audiences, as this is becoming a type of alternative information. It’s important to be considerate to everyone of all technical skills and experience. With digital storytelling and other digital components, there is also the issue of losing the face to face and live interaction. I think it’s important to add an interactive component or at least make it somewhat engaging to ensure that users get as much as they can out of the digital.

I have personally taken online classes before, but I have never gotten as much out them as I would like to. Especially coming from someone in the social sciences, a lot of the dialogue that comes from in class discussions is where I retain a lot of the material. It helps expand ideas through critical thinking and sharing thoughts. When online, this interaction is missed. A class I’d possibly take online and get a lot out of is a computer class. Personally, I am a fast learner in the technical aspect. With numerous tutorial videos we have used in DH classes and the many application tutorials I have watched online for work, I have learned as much as I can in a short amount of time, probably of equal quality as if someone were to sit down next to me and teach me. With technology, a lot of the questions I have can be answered through trial and error, whereas a academic subject question cannot be solved this way.


A lot of digital storytelling pieces are of personal stories, and I explored a few on a website called Story Center. One I found interesting is here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AaJDKkM8zs&feature=youtu.be

This particular storytelling video is a very personal one, and talks about her personal experience. In a digital humanities class, we collect stories and both qualitative and quantitative data. This site is a collection of stories and does just that.

The range of videos available on the site exemplify the different goals of musuem digital story telling projects and the broadening definition of musuem public engagement. LACMAs videos aim to provide viewers access to artists through interviews, behind the scenes looks at conservation, information about the architecture of the museum, curator led of exhibitions and conversations with the Director of LACMA. As we discussed in class, the central goals of digital story telling projects seem to be to provide the audience with a “behind the scenes,” more personal, and in-depth understanding of or access to museum content, collections and artists that is not possible in a traditional museum setting. The desire to make all this content available to the public reflects the on-going trend occurring in institutions to be more transparent with the public and increase public access to the curatorial process and musuem collections.

I personally like digital content that features interviews with artists, art historians, and curators. I feel these types of digital content can increase the resonance of art objects and exhibitions. The PBS series art21 is one of my favorite examples of how digital media has been used to document and explore the work of contemporary artists. art21 gives the viewer a personal look into the work of a diverse range of contemporary artists through the lens of the artist themselves discussing works, exhibitions, and process.  In terms of a museum’s digital presence, I really like the digital content the Whitney Museum of American Art produces in relation to exhibitions and the online interface they create for current and past exhibitions.  The Whitney’s online content and the interface are extremely helpful for research.

I think I would like to take Big Data Course on coursera because it is a really big topic right now that I would like to learn more about.