MuseoFuturo (“Future Museum”) is an experiment in museum-based education by Jeffrey Schanpp and others that reaches out not to museum professionals but rather to young practitioners in a range of creative and technical fields, inviting them to participate in the development of nine alternate visions of the future museum, while bringing the Madre’s own permanent collection –which, as is the case in most art museums, is mostly in storage– into public conversation.
museoFuturo’s themes are:
the museum as microscope
the museum as telescope
the museum as stage
the museum as warehouse
the museum as place of travel
the museum as toy
the museum as public square
the museum as laboratory
the museum as computer
Architecture comes alive through Carnegie Museum of Art’s new Plaster ReCast augmented reality app. Plaster ReCast, a new augmented reality app, created by CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center under the supervision of Bard and fellow architecture professor Dr. Francesca Torello, is designed to help visitors better engage with the CMOA’s plaster cast collection. The app allows guests to explore the Hall while learning about several select pieces. Three interaction modes allow you to more closely investigate 3D scans of the casts, pull up detailed models of the building to which it once belonged, and read about a cast’s history, complete with scans of old documents and images.
Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, founded in 1973, has the world’s largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s works. The name of van Gogh definitely contributed to the popularity of the museum. It is one of the most visited museums in the world. Even though the museum is currently closed because of Covid, the museum site in general did a great job branding itself and offering various educational and communal resources that extends beyond a single museum visit.
Vincent van Gogh is so famous that, on the one hand, many scholars did extensive research on his works and his life. On the other hand, it brings a lot of potential audiences who don’t have much knowledge of art and art history to search for him online and want to know something about him. Because the museum collected not only his artworks but also his letters, it combines and integrates art with personal stories of the artist. On the museum site, it has an Art & Stories section that includes stories ranging from van Gogh’s personal issues like his illness and death and also his art like his Sunflowers, Almond Blossom, and self-portraits. The museum site shows dedication to the combination of visual and narrative representation. The site adopted the general structure and style of a popular media website where you can read either short or long educational articles leisurely. Viewers can easily read through information in a self-directed way, where they can expand on the part they are interested in either through magnifying the paintings and letters or through a link to related websites. At the end of each story, there is a “continue reading” session, which makes it even more like browsing social media where I tended to go on and on.
These stories are directed to different target audiences. It has a section called “Unravel Van Gogh”, which digs into the details of the paintings and research results. For example, one story magnifies the canvas enough so that we can see sand left on it, which indicates that van Gogh drew this painting at the sea. Being able to look at paintings closely mimics the museum experience and also serves as useful complementary resources both before and after museum visits.
Because of the popularity of van Gogh’s art, the museum also put emphasis on children’s education. It provides interesting and amiable resources including videos, downloadable coloring pages, family games, and children’s books that target children at different ages.
The site did a good job presenting all the useful information for the public and art history researchers. The collection page includes carefully written descriptions with, for example, references to the artist’s letters and provenance of the artwork. It also provides exhibition history and research literature related to the piece. The picture of the artwork itself can be magnified and downloaded very easily. Though these are details on the page, it makes the site feel much more accessible. Apart from that, the museum connects to research platforms like Van Gogh Museum Academy and provides ongoing research project information.
The museum site in general gives viewers opportunities to interact with art and learn about art in a casual way. During Covid, the museum’s official Youtube channel also provided series like 4K Tour, Van Gogh Questions, and learn to paint for childrens. The museum continued to advertise and carry out the Official Meet Van Gogh Experience exhibition (currently in Lisbon), which is definitely something compelling to make people come back to museums after Covid.
Museum Website Evaluation
I first came across the New Media Museumfrom an email thread. A alum of SIPB, the Student Information Processing Board at MIT, was “Looking to find a new home for a piece of computing history…” with a working Radio Shack TRS-80 computer. One of the suggestions on the thread was this museum, which has its collections are stored in the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse near campus.
The New Media Museum does not have a permanent location for the moment, and the website reflects this. While being an unassuming Wordpress template website, it’s straight to the point. This is a virtual museum, that acknowledges its presence in mediums such as Toy Worlds, a 3D diorama, and SecondLife. In some ways, the impermanent and digtal state of the New Media Museum made it pandemic-proof. It leans into the restraints of staying at home in the pandemic and makes an effort to give virtual visit options where it lives. Some exhibits temporarily displayed at other events are shown in pages under the Exhibits tab, but acknowledged as the past.
In terms of recources, its collections pages link to and contain image examples from the collection, resources that could be a good jumping off point for education. The footnotes also acknowledges that many of these resources overlap with 21L.015 Introduction to Media Studies (MIT, 1998). But in ways itself, the New Museum offers a small experimental example of what a virtual museum space is.
The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation presents inventions and their stories as well as American historical artifacts. It is similar to a science center in the sense that it aims to educate visitors on elements of innovation and engineering, however has a strong focus on a collection of American inventions and artifacts.
I took a look at the Henry Ford Museum’s website, a site that integrated all of the Henry Ford attractions: alongside the Museum of American Innovation, the Henry Ford runs Greenfield Village (an emulation of historic America), the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, and the ‘Giant Screen Experience.’ The resources on the website, however, mainly focus on the museum collection.
The first impression I had visiting the website was that the formatting was clean and pleasing to the eye. Links to buy tickets for all attractions were all lined up under a transitioning banner of featured exhibitions. The issue of density emerged, however, as I began exploring the site. Considering the navigation on the top of the website, the top of the page has two navigation bars and a drop-down menu with a plethora of links. To consider the Henry Ford Museum’s presentation as an attractive institution, their website is a bit overwhelming. Its layout tends to flood rather than engage, giving you ten links and articles when a visitor would be happier with just one.
The vast content on the Henry Ford website may harm the user experience, but it also holds value as resources for a wide variety of audiences. The Henry Ford website contains an extensive amount of resources for researchers, in particular their digital collections. The digital collections contain images of artifacts, and information such as their fabrication date, creators, materials, and dimensions. They also have resources for interacting with artifacts, such as videos detailing how to take care of artifacts and conservation services.
The Henry Ford outreach focuses on education, in particular teaching children about engineering and innovation. They have articles about these in-person initiatives, but also digital resources to download for the classroom. One of these is the Model i Innovation Learning Framework, which can be downloaded to a device and used to go through the design process.
Overall, the Henry Ford Museum of Innovation has a sufficient digital presence. The website contains a wide array of materials for potential visitors to explore, for researchers to study, and for students to learn in the classroom. Its layout is clean, however at times overcrowded with information and can take time to get used to before being able to fully enjoy the content.
I reviewed the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I visited this museum a few times when I sent a summer in The Netherlands, and I saw that outside groups had positively reviewed its website, so I wanted to see how that compared to the in person experience. The Rijks has huge halls with lots of open space, and the website reflects some of this feeling with images that span the full width of the page.
The curators have been developing a series called “Rijksmuseum in 60 Seconds,” in which a curator will showcase one piece of art, telling its story and highlighting some impressive details in just about 60 seconds. That tends to be the right time span to keep someone’s attention online, so I think this was a great move on their part. It helps someone learn about the work if they can’t visit, or it helps someone plan their visit and make a list of works they want to see. The videos are produced well, and have different viewpoints, so we can see the detail of the work and the full composition as needed.
Similarly, they have another portion of their website dedicated to “One Hundred Masterpieces.” In this, a curator narrates a still image of one art piece, in about 90 seconds. Many people are interested in the masterpieces shown at the Rijks, so this is also right on target for many of the same reasons that “Rijksmuseum in 60 Seconds” was.
I found “From Student to Master” also very interesting. This page has painting and color mixing tutorials for new artists. The videos are recorded in Dutch, but have English subtitles for a wider audience. I imagine school groups and families would reference these sites before or after a visit to the museum.
They also use humor on their website! Something I always appreciate :)
In terms of serving and engaging different communities, the museum does have pages dedicated to their statements on inclusivity and sustainability. They offer an API, but I’m not sure the extent this is used. For young adult audiences, the Rijks seems to be active on social media, but not to extent Antonella pointed out in class today. For audiences that are interested in science and technology, they are showcasing how they are resorting one of their most famous pieces, The Night Watch.
MALI is Lima’s contemporary Art Museum. The museum is located in the heart of the city and was inaugurated in 1961. The MALI’s permanent collection preserves more than 18,000 pieces –among textiles, ceramics, metal work, photography, drawings and paintings– that witness to more than 3,000 years of art history in Peru.
I have always been a big fan of this museum because of his natural bohemian style and how they tried to integrate the architecture with the pieces in display. However, I think that their website is not ideal. The website itself is not bad, but I don’t think that it conveys that bohemian style that characterizes this institution. This is a very important aspect of MALI since the vast majority of its visitors go there to reflect, sketch, meditate and take advantage of the calmness that the museum brings. Since the website does not do an ideal job in reflecting this, potential new frequent visitors might overlook this museum during the pandemic since they will not be able to experience the real bohemian atmosphere. Nevertheless, I must give credit to them for organizing and promoting alternative activities for the public to continue being in touch with the museum.
As soon as someone goes into the MALI website, they will encounter themselves with a big banner that informs that the museum will be indefinitely closed from the 30th of January. However, when clicking this announcement, the visitor will see that there are many other opportunities available to interact and become part of the museum community. For example, during the month of February they are offering online classes of plastic arts, performing arts, dances, and more. In addition, they have a virtual store, a YouTube channel with mini-documentaries, and even a Spotify playlist.
After visiting so often this museum I feel that the website is misrepresenting the feeling of belonging that MALI strive to convey. Nevertheless, I must acknowledge their ability to cope with a pandemic. They are offering the public a vast list of resources that they can use from home in order to continue feeling part of this friendly and supportive cultural community, which is very impressive considering the short amount of time that they got to organize it.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is an unconventional museum in Boston serving as both an art and history museum and as a time capsule of its founder’s personality. The museum and its contents were originally the home and private collection of Isabella Stewart Gardner who wanted the collection to be left as she had organized it. To this day the museum has stayed true to that and left basically every piece of art exactly where it was positioned at the time of Isabella’s death. The museum’s dedication to this is best reflected by the fact that when a number of paintings were stolen in 1990, the empty frames were left on the wall and remain there to this day. I wanted to see if this unique style was reflected in the museum’s website.
While the overall design of the site was fairly typical, there were several elements which definitely stood out. Right on the homepage, one of the main categories to view is “About Isabella & Her Museum.” It’s common for museums dedicated to collecting and displaying the works of a particular artist to have a biography of that artist displayed prominently but I haven’t seen another museum draw that much attention to its founder. The website also draws a surprising amount of attention to the theft that occurred at the museum. While I’m sure this is partially motivated by wanting to recover the pieces, it’s also clearly presented as an exciting part of the museum’s history. The page describing the theft offers to let visitors “retrace the steps of the thieves” either digitally or even physically when the museum is opened. Finally, on the admissions page of the website, the museum prominently displays that free admission is offered to several groups including members, US military, and “All Named ‘Isabella’!”
The website and museum seem to be well adjusted to the pandemic. One of the three main links on the landing page is to “Gardner at Home.” This offers digital versions of a number of the museum’s works as well as more curated resources such as virtual tours, lectures, and other performances. One of these is the Luminary Lens program which brings local artists to perform at the museum with the intention of “bringing fresh perspectives to the Gardner Museum’s historic collection.” Overall I think the museum has done a great job of not only making its works available online but of finding ways to make them accessible to as many people as possible.
I looked at the website for teamLab Borderless, an immersive digital art museum in Tokyo that seeks to break down boundaries between art and technology, and between entities of the world altogether. Immediately upon accessing the website, the viewer is greeted by a series of video clips of the immersive rooms, which take up nearly the entire screen. The video clips pan around the rooms, recreating the experience of actually being in the immersive rooms and exploring the surroundings with your gaze. Through sprawling digital projections, the rooms don’t feel like carefully curated enclosures but rather an infinite landscape, or as teamLab’s website calls it — a “borderless world.” The website clearly communicates teamLab’s futuristic take on the museum, one that I’d absolutely love to visit if I get the chance to.
There’s an interactive app for learning more about the exhibitions/immersive experience as you go through the, but the website does not contain any resources beyond what’s needed for an actual visit.
Gaining entrance to the museum isn’t very accessible, as tickets must be purchased ahead of time online and not locally at the physical museum. This is probably because having too many people takes away from the immersive experience. Although Japan is faring much better with the pandemic (and allowing museums to be open), entrance has been further limited by covid precautions. This museum isn’t doing much community outreach/engagement outside the museum, but does facilitate interesting community building goals from within. For example, a cafe combines tea drinking with interactive digital art projections to educate the public about traditional Japanese tea culture through a futuristic lens (while making some money to fund the museum). Each artwork flows into other pieces rather than existing as individual entities, and the museum hopes that the museumgoers see themselves as parts of an intermingled system just like the artwork. A “Future Park” exhibit strives to foster “collaborative creativity” between museumgoers, communicating their idea that the future of education should focus on teaching people how to share creativity and simultaneously having people form connections through this idea.
MOCA is a contemporary art museum with gallery locations across Los Angeles. While its website does highlight the fact that we are in a pandemic, and its galleries are currently closed, much of the content is focused on continuing to engage with the community online.
In adjusting to the pandemic, MOCA has created a series called Virtual MOCA. There are a number of different programs that fall under the Virtual MOCA category, such as virtual studio tours done in discussion with various artists and a number of different panel discussions, but I think the most notable are the artist v. artist series and the family programming. MOCA has two programs for families - printable family activities based on a particular work of art, and zoom workshops focused on crafting or art making for students. In these cases, the activities are based on art within the MOCA collection, but the focus is really on giving children the tools and prompts to inspire them to be artists themselves. I think the Artist v. Artist series is interesting because its based on conversations from local artists about their work and the work of an artist within the museum. As it has adapted to the conditions of the pandemic, the focus has shifted to outdoor art.
Other programming emphasizes MOCA’s connection to community, outdoor space, and education of relevant current events. Recent and upcoming panels focus on the use of public space in addressing issues such as environmental activism, homelessness in Los Angeles, and social injustice.
The MOCA website has some features likely more appealing to the regular art enthusiast. Reminders of current and recent exhibitions focus on artworks that are visually striking, like a piece by Barbara Kruger which takes up an entire exterior wall of one of the buildings, or another that features a set of rooms lit with colored lights. They also screen experimental and video art twice a month through their MOCA Screen program, and feature various artists and their studios through their Virtual Studio tours. The relative balance between these parts of the website with the other community focused events seem to prioritize connection through art over the experience of art in and of itself.
I chose to review the online presence of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA). This museum has four different branches in Seoul, Gwacheon, Deoksugung, and Cheongju. I wanted to explore how the museum could present itself as one identity but through four different locations. Through the MMCA website itself, it links to a page labelled Online Museum. It has a plethora of director talks, exhibition guides, VR tours, and online guides. Personally, the most engaging activities in the Online Museum page were the VR guides. I found being able to see a bird’s eye view of each exhibition very refreshing, and moving forward didn’t have as strong as a lurch as I am used to. I think that they are realistic enough to feel legitimate, and distanced enough from reality to the point where I am still curious about the physical space.
Aside from the Online Museum portion of the website, they also have many exhibition spaces offered through Google Arts and Culture. I personally found these stories to be extremely compelling. Some of the stories are not what you would typically expect from a modern and contemporary art museum. For the Cheongju branch, there is a photo/video essay type article, detailing past images of how the museum came to be. It originally started as a tobacco factory, and as you continue scrolling, you expose images of each floor of the museum. There is also a similar type of photo essay documenting the construction of the Seoul branch with prints from well-known Korean photographers. I find that the essay style articles about the history of the museums have more impact on me than the Google Arts and Culture tour view. The movement throughout the exhibitions is unsettling, sometimes moving through walls or jerking around. The articles on the other hand provide a view into the history of the museum that I might not have had a chance to learn about otherwise, and it makes the space that much more appealing.
The museum runs many educational programs for museum professionals, college students, office workers, and housewives. It also runs creative programs for students and teachers. It also has a program on cultural accessibility education, focusing on teaching about cultural diversity and also education catered towards people with disabilities, as well as education for out-of-school youth. Aside from educational programs they also have a residency and resources for research. I think they do a good job in terms of keeping a large variety of resources, though I do wonder how often they are taken advantage of.
I thought it would be intersting to explore the online presence for an art musuem that primarily exhibits physical works. Dia is a series of 11 art museums and sites located primary in New York and is known for exhibiting large-scale installations, land art and sculptures. Given the spatial nature of much of its collection, I assume it is particularly difficult to showcase their work online during the pandemic in a compelling way. They offer an accessible way to search their entire collection, which provides extensive metadata for each work(e.g., credit line, reference number, description) as well as an interactive map to search the works spatially.
I feel museum does a good job of providing prospective visitors with content and activities they could only access on their website. For instance, one unique section of their website showcases a series of music playlists curated by contemporary artists. I thought the inclusion of the late sculptor and land artist Robert Smithson’s favorite songs (which the museum curated based on the artist’s writings), was particularly interesting as it provides a novel way for visitors to remotely connect with a deceased artist in their collection. Dia also has a series of web-based projects they’ve commission over the years. However, I was quite surprised that they hadn’t commissioned any new works since the pandemic began. To me, this was a missed opportunity as it’s a compelling way of remotely curating and exhibiting new work responding to the pandemic.
Dia’s public programming is expansive and overall the museum seems very much in touch with and supporting their surrounding community. The museum offers free family-oriented, artist-run workshops and a frequent speaker series including artist panels/ talks, poetry readings, and tours. They’ve migrated much of these online during the pandemic. The also museum offers free admission once a month to Husdson Valley residents.
Overall Dia website contains a lot rich content and depth. However, much of it feels hidden and only accessible through some deep digging. Works in collection are displayed front and center on the homepage and personally make me very eager to schedule my next visit.