Enhancing Art Museum Exhibitions through Integrated Online and On-site Experiences

Professional Forum
Aaron Miller, USA , Gabriel Perez-Barreiro, USA, Allegra Burnette, USA, Kate Haley Goldman, USA, Josh Goldblum, USA

Art museums are increasingly looking to digital media to help engage visitors both inside and outside of the physical museum. While websites, audio tours, apps, and interactive exhibits are common in museums, there is much to be explored in the connecting of these formats. Integrated web, mobile web, app, and on-site experiences can provide an opportunity for visitors to engage with art exhibitions pre-, in-, and post-visit, potentially enhancing their overall museum experience.

Creating truly integrated online and on-site experiences across multiple platforms within an art museum environment can present several challenges. Tight budgets and schedules, lack of opportunity for interdepartmental collaboration, and limited resources can impede the development of integrated media. By looking to recent projects that demonstrate the digital experience as a continuum for the visitor, we may further understand the value and potential for integrated on-line and on-site experiences. And, by discussing how these projects have been planned, designed, and developed, we may realize the next steps for developing experiences that captivate audiences across the spectrum of engagement.

We have organized this professional forum to examine the potential for integrated on-line and on-site experiences as well as how best to implement these projects. In this forum we will ask:

· How do visitors participate online before visiting an exhibition and how can this be enhanced to make for a more fulfilling on-site experience?

· Does the use of mobile tours that are interactive, personalized, and social increase engagement with the physical museum? What have we learned recently about how people are using these tours?

· Can we encourage visitors to return to an exhibition website after visiting a museum and how can we make that a meaningful experience?

· How can all of these online and onsite interactive tools be integrated to create a whole and fluid overall experience?

· How can integrated websites, mobile websites, and apps serve both those who visit an exhibition and those who cannot?

The conversation generated by these questions is an important step towards a better understanding how integrated on-line and on-site digital media strategy can help museums engage audiences before, during, and after their museum visit. It will also serve as a demonstration of how museums can begin to develop integrated experiences based on the speakers’ first-hand experiences and successes in this area.