April 15-18, 2009
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Going Analog: Translating Virtual Learnings into Real Institutional Change

Nina Simon, Museum 2.0, USA


Museum technology professionals have spent the last several years advocating for, experimenting with, and expanding the Web presence of museums. We’ve created museum spaces on-line that offer free access to visitors all over the world and increasingly invite visitors to talk with each other, take content away with them, access and remix parts of the collection that aren’t on public display – in short, to do things that aren’t possible in the real museum.

But now we should be going in the other direction and applying the methods and lessons of the Web and Web 2.0 to the museum itself. How can museums be more like the Web? How can they be open 24/7? How can visitors customize their experiences? How can museums become places to talk with other visitors and sneak into the most interesting drawers and move things around?

This paper advocates for museum Web technology professionals to take a broader view of their roles within their institutions and focus energy on translating their knowledge to the onsite experience. It presents models and case studies for how to do this kind of translation from virtual-to-real space, both strategically (so that curators, directors, and boards can sign on to the vision) and practically.

Keywords: design, innovation, exhibits, strategy, metaphor, prototyping

Metaphor is for most people a device of the poetic imagination and the rhetorical flourish - a matter of extraordinary rather than ordinary language. Moreover, metaphor is typically viewed as characteristic of language alone, a matter of words rather than thought or action. For this reason, most people think they can get along perfectly well without metaphor. We have found, on the contrary, that metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature. (Lakoff and Johnson 1980)


In 2008, the British comedy sketch group Idiots of Ants released a video called “Facebook in Reality”( In it, an obnoxious young man harasses a former classmate by showing up at his door, poking him, asking him personal questions, writing graffiti on his wall, sharing old embarrassing photos with his mother, etc. The video casts the interactions on social networks like Facebook as absurd departures from real life behavior. This perspective is not limited to comedians; journalists have comparably bemoaned the decline of interpersonal communication and mocked the need for “Facebook in the Flesh” seminars for college students (Shulman, 2007).

But interactions on social media sites are not as foreign as the Idiots and journalists would have you think. Consider this account from Harry Hay describing the gay pickup scene in 1930s San Francisco:

At Finocchios, you didn’t meet at the bar and make connections. You met through… you were introduced by the waiter. If you wanted to meet a young man who was sitting at this table over here, you had the waiter take a bottle of wine and a glass on a little tray. And your card. So I’d look back (sigh) and decide that you’re not my type, so consequently I would say thank you very much, but I’d never take the glass. I’d simply turn it over. Thanks but no thanks. However, if I liked your looks, I’d simply say, ‘Roy, won’t you pour me a drink.’ And you would pour me a drink. And then I would say, ‘and why don’t you bring me a second glass,’ and you would do that. And then the moment he brought the second glass and he poured that the other gentleman came and he joined you at the table (transcribed from Carlsson, 1996).

The gay flirting rituals of the 1930s are no different from the social interactions between people today on Facebook. The wine glass and the superpoke are both social objects that mediate interactions between people, lubricating connections that feel too exposed or uncomfortable to make directly. We’ve always needed tools to help us meet new people and start relationships.

So if social objects have always been part of our lives, what makes social media different? For the first time, social objects are being produced on a mass scale and are accessible to millions of people. The wine glass gesture at Finocchio’s was an idiosyncratic quirk of a specific restaurant. Had a man walked into a restaurant in New York City and sent a bottle to a man at another table, his message might not have conveyed itself clearly. But tools like Facebook are universally available and provide a common language for mediated interaction. The language is so familiar that comedians like Idiots of Ants can perform sketches heavily laden with specific Facebook references and millions of people will watch the videos and laugh.

The social Web is receiving so much media attention that even people who do not engage with on-line social tools are fascinated by their cultural implications. This includes museum directors, who see the on-line landscape as the breeding ground for future visitors and donors. And so people in positions of power in museums are getting Ideas. This is a good thing – they are finally interested in the Internet not just as a dumping ground for content but as a starting point for innovations that impact entire institutions. They are looking for information about how the rise of the social Web will affect the business model and viability of museums.

You need to be the source of that information. It is time for museum technologists to step up to the plate and apply your expertise in on-line social experience design to your physical institution. Start with your institutional mission and find the core experience goals that you can deliver in new and powerful ways. Then, innovate backwards, using on-line platforms like Facebook and Twitter and Delicious as models for museum-specific mediating experiences that are physically realized in the galleries. Marry the mission to the metaphor and you will transform your museum. You will be creating your own wine-wooing platform, starting with the largest empirical dataset possible: the behaviors and experiences of the social Web.

Designing Real Versions of Virtual Ideas

How do you take a virtual concept and apply it to the physical space of the museum? Consider this simple example from an ice cream shop in Santa Cruz, CA. Marini’s is a locally-owned store with a friendly, funky atmosphere. In summer, when the store is busy, they put up a chalkboard-style “gift board” next to the menu board. When you buy a gift certificate for someone at Marini’s, the purchase is an (opt-in) public act: the staff member writes on the gift board, “Nina gives Julia a hot fudge sundae” or “Ben gives Theo a double-scoop cone.” When you come in to use a gift certificate and claim your gift, the message comes off the wall.

Readers familiar with Facebook and MySpace will spot the relationship between this ice cream gift board and the interpersonal exchange-based interactions on social networking sites. Gifting is a core game mechanic (Kim, 2006) by which people express affection for each other. Social networking sites have turned gifting into a public act by enabling people to send gifts (virtual tacos, messages on walls, snowballs) and broadcast their gift-giving on public profiles. In this way, a traditionally private interpersonal exchange becomes a collective experience by which the generosity of the gift-giver and the worthiness of the receiver can be witnessed and acknowledged by others.

When Marini’s decided to transform their gift certificate program into a gift board program, they capitalized on the same design strategy that social networks use in making gifts public. There are benefits for gift-givers, who look generous, and gift-getters, who are publicly adored. It also introduces a casual storyline to the store. Will Julia redeem her sundae? Why did Theo deserve that double-scoop? The store positions itself as part of the emotional life of its patrons in a public way. Stores always tell you that gift certificates are a great way to show people you care. Now, Marini’s is showing the value of gift certificates, and receiving benefits in the form of higher certificate sales.

Another less benevolent example is Harrah’s Casinos, one of the four largest casino companies in the gaming industry. Harrah’s uses “loyalty cards” to induce people to play longer and spend more money (Abumrad, 2008). The cards function like bank cards; users swipe them at the slot machines to play, and the cards register wins and losses. The loyalty cards are part of a pilot program to track individual user behavior. The casino maintains real-time data on the actions of every card-holder and uses the data to determine individuals’ financial “pain point” – i.e. how much money they are willing to spend before leaving the casino. The casino uses that pain point to stage strategic interventions during real-time play. When a player comes close to her limit, a staff member on the casino floor receives an alert from a dispatcher, greets the player, and offers her a free meal, a drink, or a bonus gift of money added to the loyalty card. By mitigating the bad experience of losing with a gift, Harrah’s extends people beyond their pain points and they stay and play longer.

What does a loyalty program at a casino have to do with virtual-to-real design? The technology that drives the loyalty cards’ success is unique: trackable IDs. The casino knows that every player must insert money to play at a slot machine, and they already track the real-time usage of every machine. But to reach players personally on an emotional level, the casino needed to know who was using which machines when. A clunky, more obvious solution could have required players to “sign in” to slot machines with a username. But by combining the action players already do (inserting money) with the desired new action (identifying themselves), the loyalty cards achieve the new desired goal with no additional action by users. In fact, the players prefer to play with the loyalty cards because they receive perks for doing so. Players get an easier way to play and receive rewards, and the casino gets unique, trackable data on every player in the room.

The Harrah’s example has a direct application in museums. It would be appealing to assign a unique ID to each visitor and exhibit and be able to provide customized, real-time feedback and recommendations based on visitors’ dwell time at different exhibits. So far, all attempts to do this have been clunky at best, requiring visitors to do an additional, unintuitive behavior (swiping a card, flashing an RFID chip) each time they approach or use a new exhibit. This activity is further complicated by the fact that most exhibits are not experienced individually, and most RFID-enabled exhibits force people into a “single-player” mode. Finally, unlike slot machines, there is no clear narrative to visitors’ use of exhibits, and so it is not easy to define a guaranteed linear set of visitor actions upon which to operate.

The problem of how to assign unique IDs in a museum setting is not a difficult one. Institutions like The Tech Museum of Innovation and the Ontario Science Centre have integrated RFID and barcode-based unique IDs into exhibits for years. The problem is integrating the technology into the visitor experience in a natural way that adds value – and that is the brilliance of Harrah’s implementation. Comparably, the problem of how to enable social exchanges in a museum setting is primarily a problem of understanding how the new behavior can best be integrated into familiar user behavior. More globally, any metaphorical design extension – from virtual to real, from casino to museum – is fundamentally based on the designer’s ability to creatively map the desired behavior to behaviors and experiences already in place.

A Five-Step Process for Metaphor-Mapping

So how does that mapping work? Here’s a five-step process I use when I’m trying to move from a virtual concept to a physical in-museum implementation.

figure 1

Fig 1: Five-step process for virtual-to-real design

1.    Start with a clear concept virtually.

Saying, “let’s make a museum that functions like the Web” is too broad. You should be able to specifically define the virtual product or design technique that you wish to use or emulate. For example, in the case of Harrah’s, the specific design goal was unique, trackable user IDs.

This step may require breaking down the virtual concept to detail specific elements of the design concept. For example, making an exhibition that functions like a wiki is a reasonable goal, but the connotations of the term “wiki” are diverse and misrepresented enough that you would be well-served to spell out the specific meaning of interest. I once worked with a museum director for whom “wiki” was synonymous with “Wikipedia.” To him, making an exhibition like a wiki meant making a phenomenally popular, encyclopedic exhibition fed content by independent researchers all over the world. His concept of a wiki was not going to change, so I had to change the language I used to explicitly demonstrate the functions that would be present in the physical product.

If you are making an exhibition that functions like a wiki, does that mean that anyone can edit it? That anyone can add to it? That the exhibition archives and makes available all iterations to date? That there will be some kind of editorial review of visitors’ submissions? Your answers may be “all of these” or you may be focused on a very specific wiki design mechanic. The more specific you can be in defining the core concept, the better.

2.    Define its core value and relationship to your institutional or programmatic mission.

You should be able to define the core value of the design goal, not globally, but specifically to your institution, project, and overall mission. For Harrah’s, unique user IDs enhance the casino’s understanding of user behavior and its ability to use that information to encourage longer playing (and spending) time. That’s how unique user IDs relate to the casino’s bottom line: it enhances the ability to make money.

How is your concept useful from the perspective of your institutional or project mission? How does it add value? Consider the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s simple mission statement: “The mission of the non-profit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans.” If you work for the Aquarium, any initiative you propose should clearly and fundamentally enhance the institution’s ability to inspire conservation of the oceans. The only verb in their mission statement is “inspire.” To me, that implies looking for external and virtual models that are beautiful and motivate action. This is very different from the types of models I would look for in an institution whose core mission was around “community” or “engagement.” And while the Aquarium may also be interested in community engagement, it will always be easier to win an argument about a project there if you can demonstrate that you are positively contributing to “inspiring conservation of the oceans.”

It’s not easy to be mission-driven in a technology department. Most of the demands on technology departments of museums are not mission-related; PR staff decide that the museum needs a blog or a board member goes gaga over multi-touch tables. This is problematic for two reasons. If your work is not tied tightly to the mission, it is expendable, and your job is at risk. But more disturbingly, if you are not mission-driven, then you will not be seen as core to the success of your institution. You will not be in a position to influence the institution’s direction if your work is seen as tangential to the primary goals of the organization.

Going back to the design process, you should be able to write a sentence in this form:

“We should try to integrate X into our exhibition/program/initiative/institution because it will enable us to carry out Y aspect of our mission by Z.”

This sentence will help you talk about the project with decision-makers across your institution. It will demonstrate that technology projects can be mission-driven and should be motivated by an opportunity to improve the visitor experience, not an opportunity to use some cool gadget.

3.    Define inputs and outputs of the concept as applied to the onsite experience.

This is the step where we leave high concept strategizing and get into the tough business of mapping the virtual to the real. If you are designing a new technology into the standard museum visitor experience, you need to determine where the technology will enter the experience and where it will exit. Start by mapping the visitor experience without the technology, and look for the places where it might most logically insert itself. Experience prototyping techniques like Place Storming (see section on The Importance of Experience Prototyping) may be useful at this step.

In the Harrah’s example, the input is when the player sits down at a slot machine and puts in his money. This is an activity the player is already familiar with and expects to do in order to play. The output is more subtle: it occurs anytime the player receives rewards. Traditionally, players receive rewards when they win at the slots. Lights flash, coins emerge. And while the loyalty cards registers these types of wins, they also regulate the delivery of a secondary reward – free drinks, tickets to the show, and other perks. Traditionally, distribution of these secondary rewards was semi-random, based on the psychological judgment of casino floor managers as to players’ emotional states. But the loyalty cards created a system by which these secondary rewards became deliberate and strategic. They were an underutilized output that became a core part of the new system.

4.    Define the behavior changes, if any, required by the input and output.

This is the real question: how much are you asking visitors to change what they already want or are prepared to do to engage in a new experience? Do they need to take one extra step or many? Do they have to visit a specific kiosk? Do they have to type something in or stand in a particular location? The more new steps involved, the harder it is to capture visitors, especially if those steps seem dislocated from the familiar visit experience. For this reason, it is essential to design your new service or experience to fit into familiar actions as tightly as possible.

For Harrah’s, the fact that the loyalty card replaced the use of cash at the slot machines was an easy way to switch technologies with minimal behavior change. Once players have loyalty cards, it’s actually easier for them to play the slots, because they don’t have to worry about how many dollars or tokens they have on hand. They can just swipe and play. And the output – receiving rewards – has not changed from the players’ perspective. The more significant behavior change in Harrah’s situation was the adoption of loyalty cards. The casino had to get the cards into people’s hands, and this required a new behavior at the input when players first enter the casino.

You should be able to detail exactly how the new technology fits into the familiar experience and where it deviates. What additional things will people need to do to make use of it, both on the input side (visitor engages in experience) and the output side (visitor and institution receive value)? Make a list, and map as many things to familiar actions as possible. If the leftover list of items that require behavior change has more than five entries, throw away your idea. The technology should enter the visitor experience via a scalpel, not a hacksaw.

5.    Make the behavior change as simple as possible.

Try as you might to elegantly match your technology to a familiar visitor experience, there will always be some minor behavior change required. In those cases, you need to make that change as easy and painless as possible. At Harrah’s, the behavior change requires players to sign up for a loyalty card before playing. No one wants to go sign up for a card when on entering a casino, so instead of trying to cleverly streamline sign-up into play, the casino does the next best thing: they offer a perk. What’s the best perk to give in a casino? The cards come preloaded with a few dollars. “Everyone wants to sign up for that card,” says Gary Loveman, Harrah’s CEO. “It’s free money.” (Abumrad, 2008).

Museums don’t have to give out free money to encourage visitors to change their behavior. But they do have to find ways to make the change apparent and easy to accomplish. It’s also useful to clearly message how doing the new behavior will benefit visitors so they realize their actions will pay off later.

An Elegant Example

I don’t want you to think this is all about casinos. My favorite example of this kind of thinking comes from Bibliotheek Haarlem Oost, a branch library in the Netherlands. Jan David Hanrath, an architect and former library information technologist, designed a tagging system into this branch library ( Tagging has huge theoretical value to museums and libraries as a way to allow users to create folksonomies around institutionally-held collections, and there’s a clear mission connection for institutions whose goal is to engage visitors with collections and learning. While many museums are ably exploring the world of tagging on-line, no one has figured out how to make it work in the onsite visitor experience. Tagging could be very useful onsite if there were a way to access the tags and use them to discover artifacts of interest. Ideally, there would be a complete feedback loop where you would then be able to assign tags to objects as you view them in the galleries, thus creating more data for new visitors walking in the door.

What I’m describing maps to a complicated set of inputs and outputs. At the input (performing the tagging), visitors while onsite would need a way to mark individual exhibits with keywords. Then, on the output (using tags to access content of interest), visitors would need a way to scan the keywords at any exhibit, see linked related exhibits, and receive directional information to find the other exhibits. I can think of several ways to do this, and they all have long, painful lists of behavior changes associated with them.

The library at Haarlem Oost wanted to do this same thing – to allow patrons to tag the books they’d finished so they could be displayed on shelves and in the database for others to find books they might enjoy. But Hanrath didn’t come up with a clunky technology with lots of required behavior changes and instruction sets. They did something very, very clever. They installed more book drops.

The library created a book drop for a set of predefined tags (boring, didn’t read it, great, funny, exciting, good for kids, etc.). They also created shelves for the individual tags. When patrons return books, they place them on the shelves that appropriately categorize their books. Because the majority of books in the Dutch library system have RFID tags, the shelves were enabled with RFID readers that scan the books and add the tags to the books’ digital entries in the library database. The only behavior change required is for the patron to shelve his or her books in categories, and the benefit on the output side (the tags appearing in the library on-line catalogue) is immediate.

No patron would call the activity of putting their books in book drops ‘tagging,’ and that’s a good thing. There’s little concern here about barriers to use, educating the visitor on how to participate, or even significant infrastructure or support costs. The feedback loop is there, and it works because it’s a clever, simple distillation of the core idea of tagging.

The Importance of Experience Prototyping

The hardest part of the virtual-to-real process is steps three and four, where you map existing user behaviors against the new technology and try to creatively limit behavior changes. Experience prototyping can help you walk the museum from visitors’ perspectives and gain new insight about potential inputs and outputs for your new technology experience. This is different from prototyping the technology to make sure it works properly, or doing user testing to see how visitors respond to the device. Experience prototyping is used early in the process to understand existing and potential user experiences in context. As IDEO designers Marion Buchenau and Jane Felton Suri (2000) put it:

If designers and clients can have informative personal experiences, it is easier for them to grasp the issues and feel greater empathy with both the people who will be affected by their decisions, and the experiences users may face.

If you can think and act like a visitor, you will find entry points for your metaphorical concept. Improvisational acting techniques, creative prop-based games, and Place Storming (active brainstorming in real environments) can all help you get out of standard pathways of thinking and explore new opportunities. Devising useful metaphors requires making new mental connections between ideas, and those connections are often most successful when they are surprising.

There are two ways to use this kind of prototyping in conjunction with the process explained above.

  1. First, designers should spend time experiencing the museum or venue in ways that are familiar for intended technology users (visitors). If you know that your technology will require a particular kind of input or output; for example, that the visitor must stand in a single location for at least 3 seconds, then track your progress through the museum and note every location where you find yourself standing for more than three seconds. You will come out of this experience with a list of potential locations and opportunities for technological intervention that will dovetail harmoniously with current visitor actions. This will help you in step three of the process.
  2. Second, designers should set out in the museum with entirely symbolic prototypes of the new technology to test the overall experience and brainstorm ways to eliminate or diminish required behavior changes. The Place Storming technique (Anderson and McGonigal, 2004) is particularly effective for this. Give your design team an object that is loosely evocative of the design concept. If the concept is around tagging, you might give out stickers. If the concept is around social connections, you might give out string. Assign an evocative verb to the object (i.e. “the tagger,” or “the connector”) and then tell the team to go use the object in the museum. Changing contexts by taking the object to the gift shop, the restaurant, the parking lots, and out on the street will help designers explore the ways that usage of the object integrates into the visitors’ experience beyond the museum galleries. The more time you spend ‘using’ your evocative object in a variety of real environments, the more creative observations you will make about its value and limitations.

These playful, creative techniques will not give you the final answer, but they will help you stretch your mind and find new connections between familiar and potential visitor experiences. They can also help you avoid undesirable activities. For example, the Haarlem Oost tagging project started as a sorting project. The original concept was a game where library patrons would sort their books into library categories on shelves, and they would get buzzed if they put a book in the wrong slot. While this job/game was appealing from the librarians’ standpoint, they quickly realized how unappealing and potentially unpleasant the experience would be for patrons. When they started to think like library users, they realized that the original concept could be modified slightly to accommodate a very different kind of experience – sharing opinions, not sorting. Later, after implementation, they discovered a second flaw in their design: the new shelves and book drops required patrons to put every book into a tagged location. They hadn’t thought about the harried moms and quick-moving patrons who want to just dump their books and move on. In redesign, they are making half of the shelves and book drops ‘general’ (i.e. untagged), while the other half give patrons tagged options. Had the Haarlem Oost design team performed simple experience prototyping from the perspective of patrons, they would have quickly realized the need for an untagged option.

What Happens When You Don’t Practice Metaphorical Thinking?

This process and these prototyping techniques will take time and effort to implement. But they are worth the effort, because the alternative – designing clunky, non-contextualized, non-user-friendly technologies – produces costly failures.

For example, consider ThinkeringSpace ( This project, like Hanrath’s project at Haarlem Oost, is library-focused. But unlike the tagging shelves, ThinkeringSpace does not fit into familiar behaviors of library patrons, was not designed with the library mission, context, and content in mind, and is not being developed with user-centric experience design techniques. ThinkeringSpace is a MacArthur Foundation-funded project of the IIT Institute of Design to produce “a system, made of both physical and virtual environments, that aims to promote creative and critical thinking skills for the 21st century.” Functionally, ThinkeringSpace is a physical remix station that blends smart table technology with digital library assets to allow kids to socially “co-construct” creative media. Realistically, it is an expensive design project without a client, a context, or a connection to the familiar ways people use libraries.

The ThinkeringSpace prototype I saw was painfully clunky, not in technology, but in experience. Compared to Hanrath’s elegant shelves, ThinkeringSpaces requires patrons to slowly physically scan a book across a surface to pull up information related to it. It’s unclear why patrons would want to do this when they could quickly pull up relevant information about the book via the catalogue at multiple computers in the library or at home. The prototype demonstrators frequently used the verbal construction, “and then you…” to explain an endless progression of non-intuitive actions like flipping a cube or sliding a book. It was clear that no one would think to perform these actions unless explicitly instructed.

ThinkeringSpace is aggressively non-intuitive for several reasons. It is a universal platform that is explicitly content-agnostic, so the design is not contextualized to the content it should support. The actions required to operate it are unfamiliar, and there is no clear incentive for patrons to do them. It’s explicitly meant to support digital remixing activities that are unfamiliar in physical space. Rather than searching for physical remixing metaphors to build on, like collage-making, the IIT team created their own model. Finally, the IIT team are designers, not librarians. Watching prototyping videos, it was embarrassingly clear that they did not do any kind of experience prototyping to see what activities might meaningfully fit into the ways people use the library. The ThinkeringSpace do not have libraries’ missions in mind; they have their own colonizing goals.

ThinkeringSpace asks far too much of patrons in terms of behavior change, and it doesn’t offer clear reasons to make the change. They may argue that it is non-intuitive because they are trying to create a platform to support a new kind of behavior, but remixing is not new. Instead, they have designed a clunky, decontextualized piece of machinery – a peg that barely understands or acknowledges the hole in which it is meant to fit.

It’s admirable to be ambitious and try to create new platforms for visitor experiences. But if they aren’t built into familiar experiences, they are unlikely to inspire adoption. And if they are not contextualized to your overall mission, they are unlikely to receive institutional support.

Making It Happen

It is not easy to devise creative, elegant ways to map visitors’ familiar actions to new technologies. Some of your best ideas will be easy to support virtually and unsustainable in physical space. You should still try them. For example, Dick Rijken, a Dutch researcher, wanted to find a way to encourage people to contribute to local historical archives. Rather than setting up a wiki, he erected a stall at a town festival, and cooked and served food based on 17th century recipes that were in the archive. To get fed, visitors had to submit their own recipes.

Is Dick going to spend every day cooking and traveling to festivals to help people understand their power to contribute to archives? No. But he created a mini-platform for contribution that could be extended to other elements of the archive or museum. It was a cheap, elegant way to demonstrate a metaphorical concept in physical space. The food stall was the first step towards a more participatory archive overall.

Your job is to think in new metaphors. By doing so, you can translate your digital experience design skills into the physical space of the museum. No matter how innovative your museum is on the Web, the core service of most museums is still based in the physical building. The more the on-line functions of a museum deviate from the onsite experience, the more your work will be seen as tangential to the mission of the institution. Now is the time to align your experiments and innovations to the core mission of your museum, and to demonstrate that your successes can be translated to the physical galleries, exhibitions, and programs. Museum directors are struggling to redefine our institutions as relevant, essential spaces in the cultural landscape. I believe you have the metaphors to make this happen. Make new connections, align them to your mission, and start the transformation today.


Thanks to Jan David Hanrath, Jenny Levine, and Bruce Wyman for their consultation on projects and concepts referenced in this paper.


Anderson, K. and J. McGonigal (2004). Place Storming: Performing New Technologies in Context. In Proceedings of NordCH 04I, The 3rd annual Nordic Conference on Computer Human Interface, Tampere, Finland, October 23-27, 2004. Available at:, consulted January 14, 2009.

Buchenau, M. and J. F. Suri (2000). Experience Prototyping. In Proceedings of the 3rd Conference on Designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques, August 17-19, 2000, New York City. New York: ACM Press, p.424-433. Available at: &dl=GUIDE&CFID=20394608&CFTOKEN=70497964, consulted January 10, 2009.

Carlsson, C. (1996). Video Interview with Harry Hay about Finocchio’s. Last updated Tuesday, 20–Jan–2009 17:23:24 PST. Consulted January 24, 2009.’s

“Choice.” RadioLab. Narr: Jad Abumrad, Mike Pesca. WNYC, New York City. November 14, 2008. Available at:, consulted January 29, 2009.

Kim, A. J. (2006). Putting the Fun in Functional. Presented at ETech, San Diego, CA, March 6-9, 2006. Available at, consulted January 12, 2009.

Lakoff, G. and M. Johnson. (1980). Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Shulman, M. (2007). “Social Studies.” The New Yorker. September 17, 2007. Available at:, consulted January 26, 2009.

Cite as:

Simon, N., Going Analog: Translating Virtual Learnings into Real Institutional Change. In J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Museums and the Web 2009: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. Published March 31, 2009. Consulted