Participate in the MW2014 Mobile Bake-off!

There is now a significant number of mobile tour app authoring platforms available in the museum field, each one offering a unique approach to tour creation and content presentation, driven by the distinct creative visions and technical solutions of the providers who created them.

In order to help us appreciate what makes each platform special and compelling within the field, MW2014 will host a “Mobile Bake-off”: an opportunity for museum professionals to experience and evaluate a number of mobile app solutions on a level playing field. Each participating mobile app provider will be given access to the same small body of content about cultural sites in Baltimore with which to create a mobile tour demo, and the same amount of time to create a demo app using that content. The content will be a mix of 5-6 stops about local museums and outdoor points of interest, and will include a range of different kinds of media, such as audio, video, text, slideshows, interactives and others. Attendees of MW2014, beginning with the pre-conference tour groups on April 1, will be encouraged to try the demo tour apps. In a special “Mobile Tasting” session on Friday morning, April 4, each demo app will be presented by its creators, and discussed by a panel of mobile experts with questions and contributions from the audience.

In the Mobile Tasting Session, we will not be naming a “winner” of the Mobile Bake-off or otherwise picking favorites. This is meant to be a friendly and colleagial event to showcase a range of mobile solutions available to museums, and to help museum professionals understand the strengths and affordances of each. At the same time, we hope it will be a useful opportunity for mobile providers to hear directly from museums what kinds of experiences and content they want to offer their mobile users. Our aim is to foster greater understanding of the potential for mobile in museums and encourage use of this powerful technology, while helping raise the quality of mobile offerings across the field.

The collection and provisioning of the content is being sponsored by IZI.travel, and managed by Sandy Goldberg with support from Laurie Stepp.

Please let us know if you’d like to participate in the Mobile Bake-off as a mobile tour provider or tester. This is a new initiative for MW, so one we are particularly grateful to have the community’s thoughts and suggestions on how to make it most useful for mobile providers and museums alike.

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About Nancy Proctor

Nancy Proctor is Director of The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture and of the MuseWeb Foundation, the new non-profit initiative of Museums and the Web, as well as Co-chair and Co-editor with Rich Cherry of MW’s international conferences and publications.

Previously Nancy was Deputy Director of Digital Experience and Communications at the Baltimore Museum of Art (2014-2016), Head of Mobile Strategy and Initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution (2010-2014), and Head of New Media Initiatives at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum (2008-2010). With a PhD in American art history and a background in filmmaking, curation and art criticism, Nancy lectures and publishes widely on technology and innovation in museums, in French and Italian as well as English.

Nancy Proctor created her first online exhibition in 1995 and went on to publish the New Art CD-ROM and website of contemporary art in the UK in 1996. She co-founded TheGalleryChannel.com in 1998 with Titus Bicknell to present virtual tours of innovative exhibitions alongside comprehensive global museum and gallery listings. TheGalleryChannel was later acquired by Antenna Audio, where Nancy led New Product Development from 2000-2008, introducing the company’s multimedia, sign language, downloadable, podcast and cellphone tours. She also directed Antenna’s sales in France from 2006-2007, and worked with the Travel Channel’s product development team. Nancy served as program chair for the Museums Computer Network (MCN) conference 2010-2011, and co-organized the Tate Handheld conference 2008 & 2010. She started MuseumMobile.info, its wiki and podcast series in 2008. She was Digital Editor of Curator: The Museum Journal from 2009-2014, and is now on the Journal’s editorial board, as well as on the Board of Directors of the Omnimuseum Project.

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