Week 7: Personal and Social?

Most museums these days have implemented digital applications or other technologies that are developed to enhance the museum experience by offering information about the museum and its collection. On my most recent museum visit to The Broad, I was presented with their app that can be used alongside one’s visit. Though this app was extensive, interactive, well designed, and easy to use, I found myself only using it for a short period of time. An important part of my museum going experience is not only engaging with the artwork, but watching how others engage with it as well. People watching is just as integral to my museum going experience as the artwork itself, and app’s like The Broad’s require a degree of attention and isolation that takes you out of that experience. I found it really refreshing to hear that museums are conscious of how the sociality of a visit can affect a visitor’s museum experience. In “Personal and Social? Designing personalized experiences for groups in museums,” conducted by Lesley Fosh, Katharina Lorenz, Steve Benford, and Boriana Koleva of the University of Nottingham; the authors explore designing “interactive visiting experience[s] that lets visitors create interpretations of exhibits for their friends and loved ones that they then experience together.” The final “interactive visiting experience” designed required visitors to choose for their loved ones a set of objects, a piece of music, instructions on how to engage with the objects, and a portion of text for context. By allowing visitors to “gift” their loved ones a personally curated experience, I believe that this new approach definitely makes that experience more personal, intimate, and social. I think that their new design template is a great start in the right direction towards bridging the gap between the often impersonality of technology and the personal experiences museum visitors, like myself, wish to have.