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Thursday, November 12 • 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Bring Your Own Device and In-Hand Interactives: How Covid-19 Forced Innovation in Our Interactives

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Bring Your Own Device
In 2015 the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum launched the Pen, an interactive stylus that allows visitors to collect objects on display by tapping wall labels embedded with NFC tags, and saving them to an online Cooper Hewitt account. In 2020 this functionality was reproduced as a standalone, and open-source, iOS application as a way to prove that it is within the means of cultural heritage institutions to do what was done with the Pen, at Cooper Hewitt, sector-wide. [1]

An open-source "bring your own pen device" offers a way for institutions without the means or the ability to develop or distribute bespoke hardware like the Pen the ability to let their visitors take their visit with them and to revisit it at a later date. Importantly it provides a technical and conceptual scaffolding that allows an institution to participate in that remembering. Every year there are thousands, perhaps millions, of photographs of objects or their wall labels that visitors take during museum visits that exist in isolation without any meaningful connection back to the object itself, the institution that shepherds it or the broader collection it is a part of. A "bring your pen device" is a tangible first step towards bridging that gap.

This presentation will discuss the history, implementation and technical details of the project. It will also discuss next steps and how the project can be adapted to work with institutions that lack the budget or the staff for large or sophisticated digital initiatives and how it might be adapted to work across different institutions (for example Museum Mile in New York City or the different Smithsonian museums in Washington).

Finally it will make an argument for a renewed and modular approach to software development by and for the cultural heritage sector in order that we might develop a re-usable toolbox, or kit of parts, that can be re-configured quickly and easily to adapt to the needs of different institutions.

[1] https://www.aaronland.info/weblog/2020/06/16/revisiting/#pen

In-Hand Ineractives
As Covid-19 took hold of the world and changed the way we interact with each other, the Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) began to explore how we would engage our visitors during a pandemic. Being known for our interactive experiences, we explored ways our guests would experience these interactives in no-touch ways upon reopening. These options included investing in gesture control, providing styluses, removing interactives, installing new hardware, and more. After much thought, we landed on developing a new experience called “CMC In-Hand Interactives”

In-Hand Interactives is a web-based experience offering much of the same content of our interactives via a mobile device. It offered the most economical solution that could be quickly developed and highly engaging. Having just invested in new interactives during our restoration, this path would also allow us to return our interactives to operations once the pandemic threat had ended. Additionally, CMC’s board, leadership, and staff wanted to use this as the foundation and learning opportunity for how we engage our guests digitally in the future. Finally, CMC developed a partnership with Digimarc to effectively deliver the content to our guests. By scanning a digitally embedded barcode in artwork, guests could be launched directly to the content.

In this session, we will explore the process from ideation, evaluating solutions, leveraging existing content, re-imagining the guest experience for mobile, building a new web platform, and delivering this content to our guests.

avatar for Aaron Straup Cope

Aaron Straup Cope

Head of Internet Typing, SFO Museum
Aaron is the Head of Internet Typing at SFO Museum and the creator of Who's On First, an openly-licensed gazetteer of all the places in the world. Previously he was Head of Engineering at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, responsible for the museum's digital infrastructure... Read More →
avatar for Dave Zlatic

Dave Zlatic

Chief Technology Officer, Cincinnati Museum Center
Dave Zlatic is on his second tour at the Cincinnati Museum Center. He first joined Cincinnati Museum Center as a Traveling Exhibits Technician in 2002 and focused on hands-on interactive design. After 12 years in Higher Education at Xavier University, he returned to Cincinnati Museum... Read More →

Thursday November 12, 2020 2:30pm - 3:30pm EST
Live stream channel 2
  Presentation Panel
  • Chatham House Rules Yes