Already midway through a $350 million-dollar expansion, the Cleveland Museum of Art was challenged to grow new audiences. Tasked to utilize technology, but not diminish the traditional gallery experience, media design firm Local Projects created a suite of new “interactives” that transform the art museum experience. Another priority was to incorporate the learning objectives and specific content of individual installations without losing sight of the overall visitor experience. It’s a serious challenge to balance learning, contextual understanding and fun.
The resulting interactive experiences let visitors explore digital versions of the artworks, gather ideas, and see the original context of the art in front of them. Visitors to Gallery One not only absorb the art surrounding them, but also make their own works of art, understanding creativity by being creative. The exhibits emphasize the concept of ‘looking closer’ and explore that maxim in all possible approaches, including a 40’ x 5’ multi-touch Collection Wall; the ArtLens iPad app; six 46” multi-touch screens featuring over 16 custom-designed activities that appear as ‘lenses’ for the various artwork installations; and Studio Play, a family area which includes a microtile wall matching visitor-drawn lines and shapes to corresponding works within the Museum’s collection. The response was overwhelmingly positive, said the Local Projects team, who were delightfully surprised to discover photos of museum security guards in the logfiles of the “Make a Face” game, which uses facial recognition software to match your expression to a work in the collection. “It was very heart-warming to see people compelled to play—even if they avoided it and maintained a diligent countenance whenever anyone else was around!”
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