Layered Learning: Developing and utilizing integrated systems through mobile platforms to enrich and expand interpretation

Jennifer Talbott, Spencer Museum of Art, USA, Ryan Waggoner, Spencer Museum of Art, USA, Robert Hickerson, Spencer Museum of Art, USA, Kristina Walker, Spencer Museum of Art, USA

Published paper: Layered learning: developing and utilizing integrated systems through mobile platforms to enrich and expand interpretation

Over the past two years, the Spencer Museum of Art has embarked on several technology projects aimed at providing its audiences more robust and multi-faceted interpretations of its collection. The end goal was to create a unified, nimble, and adaptive mobile platform that would allow the museum to share interpretive content with visitors. With the mobile app and iBeacon technology, the Museum enhanced the gallery experience for visitors by increasing the accessibility of existing content, such as short videos and podcasts that feature perspectives ranging from eighth-grade students to accomplished art historians. The resulting product has allowed the museum to respond more directly to the needs of its audiences, engage a wider range of visitors, and offer an enhanced museum experience.
In this paper the Spencer will share lessons learned and knowledge gained throughout the app development process with the hopes that other small to mid-sized museums will also have the opportunity to leverage existing systems within a single platform. We share the following points of significance: working under the constraints of a small staff, the Spencer, with the help of University of Kansas technology staff, capitalized on its strengths by linking resources; aggregating scattered interpretive information into one location for visitors improves discoverability of rich content and leverages existing interpretations to afford greater exposure to research and enhance content development; connecting the app to collection databases (which are already employed by a majority of museums) to deliver content directly to the app offers an efficient, scalable, and affordable way to enhance all visitors’ experiences by avoiding the necessity of redundant data entry; integrating activities, academic unit assignments and curriculum, and a variety of documents in the gallery experience; and creating diverse opportunities for collaboration with other campus units and organizations.

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