My Gallery Interactive: Engaging Museum Audiences with Technology
New technologies are allowing museums to engage visitors through innovative and interactive exhibitions. As part of this movement to enhance the visitor experience, the goal of My Gallery Interactive is to create a crowd-sourced experience using a novel multi-touch table interface that allows users to participate in the curatorial process in a fun and interactive way. This project was a unique collaboration between the Pacific Rim Undergraduate Experiences (PRIME) program at UCSD, the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in San Diego, and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) in Tokyo and Kyoto.
The My Gallery Interactive is a fully functional touch table interface that harnesses the expertise of undergraduate PRIME students to complete the work and presents a new, exciting model for collaboration between museums and academic institutions interested in merging art and technology. The interface was based on the Open Exhibits multi-touch framework (Ideum, Corrales, NM) using ActionScript and Adobe Flash. This open source framework facilitated the construction of the interface and allowed for more creativity with the user interface.
The functionality of the My Gallery Interactive interface features three interactive screens. The main screen displays 50 images hand selected from MOPA’s photography collection. Users can move images to the center workspace to enlarge or reduce them and to select images to create a user’s mini gallery. They can select up to 10 photographs to add to their own personal collection. A second screen enables the user to title their gallery in English or Japanese and subsequently save it. Finally, the third screen allows the user to view past collections that had been saved by other users. Collections can be sent to and shown on an external Tile Display Wall, allowing a larger audience to view and engage with My Gallery Interactive.
My Gallery Interactive was developed as a prototype for a crowd-sourcing project that will premiere at the Museum of Photographic Arts in 2012. Visitors to MOPA’s galleries during the summer of 2012 will be able to interact with an extended version of the My Gallery Interactive and will have an opportunity to rate the photographs in the Museum’s collection on the touch table. A similar interaction will also be available on MOPA’s website for online users. Together, the data from both the touch table and website will be transformed into a visitor-curated exhibition that will be installed in the Fall of 2012.
Participants to the Museums and the Web conference will be able to experience the My Gallery Interactive interface first hand in this demonstration. PRIME students, NICT and MOPA project managers will be available to answer any questions about the development, implementation, and collaboration process.