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Roman Art from the Louvre Webisodes
The Roman Art Webisode project was developed internally by the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) to support the blockbuster exhibition, Roman Art from the Louvre. The IMA team thought carefully about ways technology could be harnessed to successfully promote the exhibition, educate visitors and provide a new digital experience. Traditionally, the IMA had used orientation videos or audio guides for its larger exhibitions. For Roman Art from the Louvre, we decided to experiment with digital content, by developing (11) online web videos available in a variety of formats. Visitors of all ages could view content prior to visiting the exhibition and follow the release of these episodes throughout the duration of the exhibition. Visitors more comfortable with technology could download the content for use with iPod or to watch in HD. In order to reach a variety of audiences, the Roman Art Webisode production team held brainstorming sessions and worked collaboratively to create a content list that included art, world history, pop culture and definitely entertainment value. Once this list was created the project was solidified with input from exhibition organizers, the lead curator as well as IMA educators. The result is a group of topics, each one with unique presentation styles and tones varying from traditional to irreverent in the hopes everyone would find something to be excited about in the series. While topics were developed with audiences in mind, the order of release was intended to coincide with the goals for marketing the exhibition, allowing the content to serve as both educational and promotional. In viewing the webisodes, it is clear that the earliest ones are focused on generating excitement about the exhibition through the use of authentic and stunning visuals and entertainment value. As the series progressed webisodes were released in conjunction with related programming being offered at IMA, allowing the museum’s marketing department to feature the videos prominently in e-news communications creating an interest in topics relevant to the exhibition and lectures, classes and other events. The webisodes provided a more immersive and robust communications platform than traditional advertising methods. The videos were used as a way to more fully develop message points and to provide in-depth content that audience segments could view in their leisure time based on their personal preference. The slow release of webisodes throughout the duration of the exhibition provided increased web traffic as visitors returned repeatedly to view the entire webisode series. The increased web traffic drove online exhibition ticket sales as well as increased attendance at related Roman Art events.Since this project was one that existed primarily on-line, and catered to a dominantly tech-savvy audience, the production team took some risks in presenting material that was creative and edgy, especially in the art-museum realm. I Love the Ads and Finders Keepers, two of the later webisodes to be released, featured much more daring dialogue, engaging design styles and tongue in cheek approach to providing educational content. Combining goals for both marketing and education was a daunting task but through strong departmental collaboration, the project generated a lot of interest in the exhibition but also in IMA as a leader in on-line video production.