Models for Creating Museum Experiences
DFL Research Group Seminar
Monday March 24th, 3.30 – 5pm.
Toni Roberts and Sigurd Trolle Gronemann
Presentation – Toni Roberts
Interpretation aims to connect visitors with places, histories, ideas and objects. Zoos, museums, national parks and other sites use interpretation to communicate often complex, layered messages, aiming to create transformative experiences with lasting impact on visitor attitudes and behaviour. The significance of interpretation design has increased as museums and zoos seek to engage visitors in multi-sensory experiences but the theory and practice of multi-form design outputs in such contexts remains largely unexamined. Theoretical models are needed to support designers in their work, to educate clients about suitable project management and to guide critique of design outcomes. Practitioners hold significant expertise not represented within the limited literature and avenues for sharing knowledge are limited. Drawing on practitioner knowledge gathered through interview and qualitative case study in my PhD research, I propose a basic model of the foundations of interpretation design that encompasses design approaches, techniques and types. A conceptual framework of cognitive, affective and physical modes of visitor engagement underpins an illustrated typology of design outcomes. The think-feel-do model supports designers’ focus on visitor needs and interests in contrast to traditional categories of design forms and media.
With experience and qualifications in education and design, Toni is a practitioner and researcher in the design of interpretive environments for zoos, museums and related contexts. Projects include Auckland Zoo’s Te Wao Nui native precinct, The World Heritage Exhibition Centre at Mount Tomah Botanic Garden, Whittlesea Bushfire Memorial and interpretation planning for the Royal Australian Mint. Synthesising data from case studies, practitioner interviews, professional experience and the nascent literature of the field, Toni’s PhD thesis examines interpretation design practice, investigating the role of designers and the key impacts on their role. The thesis proposes models of interpretation design practice, a typology of design outcomes and a definition of the field. http://www.rmit.edu.au/staff/toniroberts
Presentation – Sigurd Trolle Gronemann
To design and develop digital resources for museum learning, museums usually have to collaborate with specialised ICT design companies. But with free, advanced apps and web-services increasingly available, as well as affordable and easy-to-use platforms (e.g., iPads), new possibilities for museums to conceptualise, test and deploy digital concepts on their own are made possible. This presentation explores what happens when museums try to create new digital concepts with what they have at hand.
Drawing on an analysis of a media-ethnographic and design-based research study of how iPads were introduced into three Danish natural science museums, I present key characteristics and differences in these museums’ development approaches. I further discuss how this influences the final products and their use, arguing that working with portable tablets and existing apps can have a positive influence on important procedural aspects (e.g., iterative capabilities, involvement of users in testing, museum staff’s sense of ownership and so on) as well as pushing museums’ resources towards content production, supporting user adoption and satisfaction. In my conclusion, I will also discuss this approach’s shortcomings by project type, staff skill requirements and its tendency to impede radically divergent thinking and conceptualisations.
Sigurd Trolle Gronemann
PhD-fellow DREAM (Danish Research Centre on Education and Advanced Media Materials)/University of Southern Denmark, Sigurd holds an MA in digital design and communication from the IT University in Copenhagen with a specialization in participatory ICT design. With a broad practical experience in conceptualizing and designing digital experiences for private and public corporations he has worked as a digital strategist and an exhibition developer for several years. Starting in June 2012 Sigurd’s project aims at identifying the creative dynamics that occur when young people aged 12-20 are involved with social media activities in relation to natural science museums. It also studies how their interaction and reflection processes relate to the content and the communication purposes intended by the museums.