A pagan, a high-wire walker, and the stars of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” walk into a museum…Whaaaaat? The expanded SFMOMA features a transformed digital program with mobile technology at its forefront. Promoted as a not-to-miss part of the reopened museum, SFMOMA’s new mobile app is designed to be a head-up, phone-in-pocket experience that harnesses the power of location aware technology to deliver surprising, intimate, and human-centered art stories you can only experience in situ. Hear how SFMOMA partnered with a tech start-up, audio storytellers, and voices from beyond the museum world to upend tried-and-true conventions of museum audio. Radio and podcast talent, fiction writers, stand up comedians, sports figures, and magicians are among the creative collaborators tapped to develop surprising, just-in-time moments. The resulting experience combines the production values of Radiolab with the (seeming) awareness of “Her” to create a unique style of audio storytelling that moves you—through space, across time, and most importantly, on a human level.
We’ll give a 360 degree view of the museum’s experimental approach to mobile storytelling—and how it’s landed (or not) with visitors. We’ll reveal the why and the how behind the app’s 20+ hours of new mobile content, and discuss ways in which the resulting stories present new (and hopefully more fun) possibilities for location-aware storytelling. We’ll also share findings from data collection and a recent mobile app evaluation. Along the way, we’ll address questions such as: How do you get institutional buy-in for decidedly unconventional ideas? What can museums learn from the radio and podcast renaissance? What do you gain—and what are the challenges of—creating linear, place-based audio journeys? Of the many content approaches experimented with in the app, which have resonated with visitors? And which have not?
Abel, J. (2015). Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio. New York: Broadway Books.
Antenna International. (n.d.) “Alcatraz: Project Info”. Exact publish date unknown. Consulted January 20, 2017. Available https://antennainternational.com/portfolio/alcatraz/
Coerver, C. (2016) “On Digital Content Strategy.” On SFMOMA.org. Exact publish date unknown. Consulted January 20, 2017. Available https://www.sfmoma.org/read/on-digital-content-strategy/
Frankly, Green + Webb (2015). “SFMOMA Mobile App User Journey Mapping Final Recommendations Report”. Internal document. SFMOMA.
Frankly, Green + Webb (2017). “SFMOMA Mobile App Evaluation: Findings Report.” Internal document. SFMOMA.
Gangsei, E., and T. Svenonius. (2010) “Mobile Means Multi-Platform: Producing Content for the Fast-Changing Mobile Space.” In J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Museums and the Web 2011: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. Published March 31, 2011. Consulted January 19, 2017. Available http://www.museumsandtheweb.com/mw2011/papers/mobile_means_multi_platform_producing_content_
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. (1993). “Interpretation at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.” Minneapolis, Minnesota. Consulted January 19, 2017. Available http://www.museum-ed.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/mia_interpretation_museum-ed.pdf
Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (2016). “Culture Segments booklet 2016.” Consulted January 25, 2017. Available http://mhminsight.com/articles/culture-segments-1179
The Museum of Modern Art. (2012). “Questions Visitors Have about Works of Art in MoMA's Galleries.” Internal document. Study conducted by The Department of Education at The Museum of Modern Art, May 2012.
Rosenbaum, Lee. (2016). “Robust App, Weak Tours: My WSJ Review of SFMOMA’s Technological Transformation.” Consulted January 27, 2017. Available http://www.artsjournal.com/culturegrrl/2016/07/robust-app-weak-tours-my-wsj-review-of-sfmomas-technological-transformation.html
Samis, P. and D. Funk. (2014). “Fisher Focus Group Analysis.” Internal document. SFMOMA.
Samis, P. and S. Pau. (2006). “‘Artcasting’ at SFMOMA: First-Year Lessons, Future Challenges for Museum Podcasters”. In J. Trant and D. Berman (eds). Museums and the Web 2006: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. Published March 1, 2009. Consulted January 22, 2017. Available http://www.museumsandtheweb.com/mw2006/papers/samis/samis.html
Samis, P. and S. Pau. (2009) “After the Heroism, Collaboration: Organizational Learning and the Mobile Space.” In J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Museums and the Web 2009: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. Published March 31, 2009. Consulted January 20, 2017. Available http://www.archimuse.com/mw2009/papers/samis/samis.html
Sennheiser Press Release (2013) “‘David Bowie Is’: Sennheiser Helps the V&A Bring Together Sound and Vision.” Published March 19, 2013. Consulted January 21, 2017. Available
SFMOMA Press Room (2016) “The New SFMOMA Announces Transformed Digital Strategy.” On SFMOMA.org. Published May 2, 2016. Consulted January 20, 2017. Available https://www.sfmoma.org/press/release/new-sfmoma-announces-transformed-digital-strategy/
Tallon, L. (2009) “About that 1952 Stedelijk Museum audio guide, and a certain Willem Sandburg,” Musematic. Published May 19, 2009. Consulted January 19, 2017. Available http://musematic.net/2009/05/19/about-that-1952-sedelijk-museum-audio-guide-and-a-certain-willem-sandburg/
Wolff Olins. (2013). “Comprehensive Market Study for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.” Internal document. SFMOMA.