105. Building a Better Visitor Experience with Open Source Software
Museum Archipelago
by Ian Elsner
2M ago
While working at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History during the pandemic, Dr. Morgan Rehnberg recognized the institution's limited capacity to develop new digitals exhibits with the proprietary solutions that are common in big museums. This challenge led Rehnberg to start work on Exhibitera, a free, open-source suite of software tools tailored for museum exhibit control that took advantage of the touch screens and computers that the museum already had. Today, as Vice President of Exhibits and Experiences at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Rehnberg continues to refine and ex ..read more
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104. What Large Institutions Can Learn From Small Museums
Museum Archipelago
by Ian Elsner
3M ago
The Murney Tower Museum in Kingston, Ontario, Canada is a small museum. Open for only four months of the year and featuring only one full-time staff member, the museum is representative of the many small institutions that make up the majority of museums. With only a fraction of the resources of large institutions, this long tail distribution of small museums offers the full range of museum services: collection management, public programs, and curated exhibits. Dr. Simge Erdogan-O'Connor has dedicated her studies to understanding the unique dynamics and challenges faced by small museums, and is ..read more
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103. How Computers Transformed Museums and Created A New Type of Professional
Museum Archipelago
by Ian Elsner
7M ago
Museum computing work keeps the museum running, but it’s largely invisible. That is, unless something goes wrong. For Dr. Paul Marty, Professor in the School of Information at Florida State University, shining a light on the behind-the-scenes activities of museum technology workers was one of the main reasons he and his colleague Kathy Jones, Program Director of the Museum Studies Program at the Harvard Extension School started the Oral Histories of Museum Computing project. The first museum technology conference was hosted in 1968 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This prescient event, title ..read more
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101. Buzludzha Always Centered Visitor Experience. Dora Ivanova is Using Its Structure to Create a New One.
Museum Archipelago
by Ian Elsner
1y ago
Since it opened in 1981 to celebrate the ruling Bulgarian Communist Party, Buzludzha has centered the visitor experience. Every detail and sightline of the enormous disk of concrete perched on a mountaintop in the middle of Bulgaria was designed to impress, to show how Bulgarian communism was the way of the future – a kind of alternate Tomorrowland in the Balkan mountains. Once inside, visitors were treated to an immersive light show, where the mosaics of Marx and Lenin and Bulgarian partisan battles were illuminated at dramatic moments during a pre-recorded narration. But after communism fell ..read more
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100. The Archipelago Museum
Museum Archipelago
by Ian Elsner
1y ago
In the early days of this podcast, every time I searched for Museum Archipelago on the internet, the top result would be a small museum in rural Finland called the Archipelago Museum. As my podcast continued to grow and my search rankings improved, I didn’t forget about the Archipelago Museum. Instead, I wondered what they were up to. What were the exhibits about? Did they ever come across my podcast? Were they annoyed by my similar name? And while the museum had a website and a map, there was no way to directly contact them. Years went by as the realization sank in—the only way to reach the m ..read more
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99. Museums in Video Games
Museum Archipelago
by Ian Elsner
2y ago
The Computer Games Museum in Berlin knows that its visitors want to play games, so it lets them. The artifacts are fully-playable video games, from early arcade classics like PacMac to modern console and PC games, all with original hardware and controllers. By putting video games in a museum space, the Computer Games Museum invites visitors to become players. But, players can become visitors too. Video games have been inviting players into museum spaces for decades. In the mid 1990s, interaction designer Joe Kalicki remembers playing PacMan in another museum – only this one was inside a video ..read more
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98. At the Panama Canal Museum, Ana Elizabeth González Creates a Global Connection Point
Museum Archipelago
by Ian Elsner
2y ago
When Ana Elizabeth González was growing up in Panama, the history she learned about the Panama Canal in school told a narrow story about the engineering feat of the Canal’s construction by the United States. This public history reflected the politics of Panama and control over the Canal. Today, González is executive Director of the Panama Canal Museum, and she’s determined to use the Canal and the struggles over its authority to tell a broader story about the history of Panama – one centered around Panama as a point of connection from pre-Colonial times to the present day. In this episode, Gon ..read more
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97. Richard Nixon Hoped to Never Say These Words about Apollo 11. In A New Exhibit, He Does.
Museum Archipelago
by Ian Elsner
2y ago
As the Apollo 11 astronauts hurtled towards the moon on July 18th, 1969, members of the Nixon administration realized they should probably make a contingency plan. If the astronauts didn’t make it – or, even more horrible, if they made it to the moon and crashed and had no way to get back to earth – Richard Nixon would have to address the nation. That haunting speech was written but fortunately was never delivered. But you can go to the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City and watch Nixon somberly reciting those words. It looks like real historic footage, but it’s fake. Artists Francesc ..read more
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96. Tegan Kehoe Explores American Healthcare Through 50 Museum Artifacts
Museum Archipelago
by Ian Elsner
2y ago
Public historian and writer Tegan Kehoe knows that museum visitors act differently around the same object presented in different contexts—like how the same visitor excited by a bayonet that causes a triangular wound in an exhibit of 18th-century weapons could be disgusted by that same artifact when it’s presented in an exhibit of 18th-century medicine. Kehoe, who specialises in the history of healthcare and medical science, is attuned to how objects can inspire empathy, especially in the healthcare context. Kehoe’s new book, Exploring American Healthcare through 50 Historic Treasures, looks fo ..read more
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95. The Museum of Technology in Helsinki, Finland Knows Even the Most Futuristic Technology Will One Day Be History
Museum Archipelago
by Ian Elsner
3y ago
In 1969, noticing that technological progress was changing their fields, heads of Finish industry came together to found a technology museum in Finland. Today, the Museum of Technology in Helsinki is the only general technological museum in the country. But of course, technical progress didn’t stop changing, as service coordinator Maddie Hentunen notes, and that can be challenging for a museum to keep up. In this episode, Hentunen describes the museum’s philosophical stance on technology, how the museum balances industrial development with more open source design practices, and how the museum ..read more
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