The most innovative cultural projects of the year recognized at MW17 in Cleveland
More than 550 leaders from museums, libraries, archives and galleries around the world gathered at the MW17 Conference in Cleveland, Ohio on Friday, April 21 to recognize the year’s best innovations in the sector at the annual GLAMi awards. Winners were selected by an international committee of judges, chaired by Steven Beasley, Director of Digital Media at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, and Jane Alexander, Chief Information Officer at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Since the dawn of the Internet age, galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (referred to as GLAMi institutions) have been pushing the envelope on what technology can do to preserve, display, and showcase cultural treasures. MW’s annual conferences have been a platform for showcasing and disseminating this important work since 1997. Formerly the “Best of the Web” Awards, the GLAMies were relaunched at MW’s 20th conference in LA last year to showcase the best work the cultural sector has done to engage, inform and excite people both on the Web and across myriad emerging and ever-changing platforms. Whether it’s social media, virtual reality, augmented reality, audio and video tours, apps, or anything in between, the GLAMi Awards honor the projects and people that allow us to visit far-away places, explore ancient artifacts, or connect with the natural world, using amazing, often cutting-edge technologies and practices.
MW’s 21st conference hosted attendees from more than 33 countries and 300+ worldwide galleries, libraries, archives and museums. The annual North American gathering of the best and the brightest in the cultural and tech sectors is an opportunity for museum professionals, product developers, researchers and students to talk innovation as it relates to the stewards of the world’s history and heritage. Next year’s conference and GLAMi awards will be hosted in Vancouver April 18-21, 2018.
In the Education Category Winner: Museum At Your Fingertips: Telepresence Tours For Schools from the Balboa Park Online Collaborative, USA.
The Museum at Your Fingertips project tested the ability of a telepresence robot, the BeamPro by Suitable Technologies, to provide meaningful and engaging remote tours to classrooms that lack the resources to visit museums in person. The two organizations worked together to design a tour program that took full advantage of the BeamPro’s capabilities to provide unique opportunities to students to access museum spaces and experiences.
In the Exhibition and Collection Extension Category Winner: Website from the National Museums of Scotland, UK
The beautiful Explore section of the National Museums of Scotland’s website provides visitors with an “online equivalent of a visit to one of our four museums” by bringing together the expanding catalogue of online content.
In the Exhibition Media or Experience Category Winner: The Natural History Museum of Utah’s Trait Tree, USA
The museum held a number of photo shoots around the Salt Lake City Community, inviting individuals to come and share a select set of visible physical traits through photos of themselves, then created a digital interface into which all of the photos could be searched and viewed according to like traits. The museum then created a custom piece of software to allow all of the visitors to the exhibition to participate in the project digitally. By the end of the 3-month exhibition, more than 1,600 had added their live photographs to our digital Trait Tree. This was among the most popular elements in the exhibition with more than 70% of visitors engaging deeply with—and chatting about—their place on the Trait Tree.
In the Exhibition Media or Experience Category Winner: VOLUME: Making Music in Aotearoa from Auckland War Memorial Museum, New Zealand
Hands-on and ears-on, Volume is the first major exhibition of New Zealand popular music. What sets Volume apart is participation – the museum wanted visitors to put themselves in the exhibition and have a go at making music themselves. They developed four major digital interactive experiences to explore different aspects of the music industry, demonstrating the range of creative roles and skills in the sector – beyond being a rock star. Extensive prototyping and user-testing ensured they had well-crafted and accessible visitor experience.