Bridging the Physical and Virtual Experiences: Two Approaches by the Museum of Inuit Art
The Museum of Inuit Art has been experimenting over the past year with strategies to better connect our varied audiences with the museum’s collections. Many of our visitors are not local members of the community and so pursuing initiatives to share content with them on the web has been a primary goal. In late 2011, MIA is launching two new ways to bridge online content with the physical museum: installing a QR Code interactive tour in the museum’s physical space and also launching an interactive virtual tour of the museum on the web. With the first project, QR Codes will be placed around the museum on specific sculptures and artwork. Using a smartphone, guests can take a picture of a QR Code and be directed to a mobile Wordpress page with additional information, embedded Youtube videos, audio clips and even Google Maps coordinates showing the origin of the piece. The second project will create a Flash-based virtual tour of the museum, so that users online as well as sponsors of the museum can take a “Google StreetView”-like tour through the museum, partially inspired by the Google Art Project. This paper will compare responses to the two projects and comment on lessons learned for small museum entering these arenas.