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  • 1.  Technology and Museum Educators

    Posted 04-14-2015 10:22 AM

    Hello, I'm looking for great examples of museum educators, volunteers, or docents leading activities or tours in galleries and incorporating technology into their experiences.  There's a tendency to believe the technology works against the in-person guided gallery experience; I'd like to see examples of how these two things work together successfully – or not!  I need this information by May 1.  Thanks so much for your suggestions.

    Ellen Owens


    Ellen M. Owens

    Merle-Smith Director of Learning Programs

    Learning Programs Department
    Penn Museum
    3260 South Street, Philadelphia PA 19104

    215.898.4066 (office) 215.898.3402 (fax)


  • 2.  RE: Technology and Museum Educators

    Posted 04-14-2015 02:37 PM

    Hi Ellen,

    The Cleveland Museum of Art has perhaps the best technological integration of any museum in the world. They avoided the common trap of technology for technology's sake, and focused on creating technological interactives which are not just engaging, they are meaningful. There is a short video here showcasing some of their interactive designs, you can tell they were really thoughtful in their application of technology, and use the technology as a tool to get to promote better understanding, rather then just taking something they already had and stapling technology to it, in order to tick a box.

     Hope this helps!


    Steven Prokopchak
    Associate Producer
    Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation
    Williamsburg VA

  • 3.  RE: Technology and Museum Educators

    Posted 04-15-2015 09:48 AM

    Here at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens we are in the beginning stages of integrating technology into our learning initiatives. As some of these ideas are in planning phase and others are only in pilot phase I cannot share the effectiveness of this integration as we have not done assessment as of yet. To get these initiatives started we created a technology task force with the following mission:

    The Technology Task Force (TTF) works as a subcommittee to the Interpretive Planning Task Force (IPTF).  The TTF looks for ways to effectively embed technology into exhibitions, education, marketing, advancement, and visitor services to transform the way visitors experience the museum on site and online. Findings and initiatives by the TTF are brought to the IPTF during standing meetings.

     These are some of the initiatives we are working on:

    • iPads are now available to all guides to use during tours. Content of Volunteer Guides iPads consists of archival photo libraries that can be shown to guests to give more context and visual understanding of Vizcaya's past. Libraries include: aerial photos of the estate, the Barge, the Courtyard, Bedrooms, Gardens, Village, Moat, and more.
    • Media-based self-facilitated intergenerational learning experiences in the Main House. iPad Kiosks explore a topic, room, collection item or theme and may feature a variety of images, archival materials, sound or video. The goal is to rotate kiosks on a consistent and regular basis to support fresh experiences for local visitors and members. As this project develops there is also opportunity to consider "living labels" in which visitors may share comments or feedback that can be viewed by others.
    • School Programs: Media-Based Gallery Experiences.These iPads will enable students to access an array of archival materials and websites, including Vizcaya's own website with expanded information on its collections.  The Museum will use these iPads to pilot a new structured small group learning experience for students facilitated by Learning Program Facilitators. These media experiences will explore a topic, room, collection item or theme in depth and as all school programs, will support national state and local learning benchmarks in Visual Arts, Language Arts and Social Studies.

    • Virtual Tour for ADA Accessibility: Development of 3-D virtual tour of remaining spaces in Main House and Gardens can increase accessibility to areas of the museum that have limited access such as the second floor of the Main House, Statuary Walks in the Gardens, Casino Mound in the Gardens, etc.The virtual tour can be pre-loaded onto mobile devices such as tablets and used by visitors to virtually visit spaces. These tours will also allow visitors to virtually go into any room which currently all have access limitations. The virtual tour will satisfy concepts of universal design, being useful and applicable to all visitors, but also allow the museum to accommodate ADA recommendations in unique and visitor centered ways.


    Mark Osterman
    Guiding Programs Manager
    Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
    Miami FL

  • 4.  RE: Technology and Museum Educators

    Posted 04-15-2015 11:49 AM

    In response to the request for examples of museum educators incorporating technology into in-gallery tours or experiences, I know there was a group of children's museums and science museums that got an IMLS grant to develop and study ways for museum staff to use tablets in conjunction with their floor programs and exhibits. You can find out more about the project here:


    Maia Werner-Avidon
    Manager of Research & Evaluation
    Asian Art Museum
    200 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    Fax: 415-581-4706