Removing the Barriers of Gallery One: A New Approach to Integrating Art, Interpretation and Technology

Jane Alexander, The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA, Lori Wienke, Cleveland Museum of Art, USA, Phillip Tiongson, Potion, USA

Published paper: Removing the barriers of Gallery One: a new approach to integrating art, interpretation, and technology

Gallery One has been an unqualified success for the Cleveland Museum of Art. After opening in 2013, individual attendance at the museum increased by 31% and the attendance of families increased by 29%. The pressure of improving on the successes along with the resistance to change expressed by some of our patrons has created unique challenges for our team. How might we reinvent the space while preserving the elements that our visitors value most?

Through evaluation we have learned that visitors, although highly engaged in the digital interaction, do not always make the connection between the artwork on the screen and the physical artworks on view in the gallery. We wanted to understand why this was happening and to take the lessons learned from the first iteration to make strategic improvements in the second iteration.

A primary challenge is to design a process that enables visitors to shift focus intentionally between artwork and digital, rather than have the two compete for visitor attention. We want to leverage the strengths of the scale and immersion of digital projection, combined with the physicality of gesture, the personalization of mobile devices, and ultimately, the power of an unmediated experience with artworks; we want to excite visitors to cross the conceptual and physical divide created by the museum’s atrium and dive into CMA’s permanent collections armed with new tools for looking closer. Our new focus is to create a tighter relationship between the artworks on display and the interpretive space of Gallery One.

Come hear how our team has tackled these hurdles and how we hope to exceed the expectations created by the success of the original Gallery One, and how we plan to avoid the infamous fate of the “second album.”

Technology That Serves to Enhance, Not Distract, by Fred A Bernstein The New York Times March 20, 2013 Cleveland Museum Visitors Explore Art with Mobile App, Beacons; by Clint Boulton Wall Street Journal, January 22 2015; 5 Lessons in UI Design from a Breakthrough Museum, by Cliff Kuang Fast Company March 3 2013.

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