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Bridging the Gap in SFMOMA's Learning Lounge: Where High-Tech meets High-Touch

TitleBridging the Gap in SFMOMA's Learning Lounge: Where High-Tech meets High-Touch
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsSamis, P.
Secondary TitleInternational Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting: Proceedings from ichim03
PublisherArchives & Museum Informatics
Place PublishedÉcole du Louvre, Paris, France
EditorPerrot,(d. 2007), X.
Keywordseducational multimedia programs, ichim, ichim03, IMLS, interface, learning environments, learning styles, museum architecture, visitor experience

The inauguration of the new Koret Visitor Education Center (KVEC) has changed the way we conceive of interactive technology opportunities at SFMOMA. Situated on the Museum’s second floor a few steps from the galleries, this high design space acts as a sort of “red carpet lounge” where casual museum-goers can drop in to find live staff, regular video screenings, exhibition catalogs, and a full set of our interactive educational technologies programs produced to date—all in a setting as pleasing to the senses as the galleries themselves. This paper describes the opportunity KVEC presents to change the nature of the museum as an educational activity system and to reach out to visitors in new ways. It details changes that are both technology- and human resource-based: development of a new interface to eight years of interactive multimedia productions; distillation of sixty-five videos into the new Artists Working, Artists Talking program; docent tours which begin with media viewing in the KVEC Learning Lounge and then continue out the door to engage artworks in the galleries. It also describes the technological features of this state-of-the-art center: moveable walls, front- and rear-projection surfaces, and a centralized media control console. The paper reflects work in progress on a 3-year grant funded by the United States Institute for Museum and Library Services, including user-experience assessments and custom programs and interfaces for our audiences in this new location