Weekly Studio Roundup #16

Culture Pass, Chatbots & Change

“Inside the Mid-Manhattan Library in New York” by Rob Bye on Unsplash

Studio News

Earlier this week, we took a trip to the New York Public Library next to Bryant Park to pick up our library cards so we could take advantage of Culture Pass. We are so excited about this opportunity that we decided to launch Culture Pass Adventures, our new blog series that will be documenting our visits to museums and cultural organizations all over New York City. We are looking forward to exploring what each place has to offer and discovering museums we had never been to or heard of before. Check out our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to keep up with where we are headed to next!

Around the web

Accessibility at the High Museum

The High Museum is encouraging visitors to touch their art. Marquetta Johnson, a teaching artist at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, has been creating tactile objects and books for people visual or sensory impairments to be able to engage with art. She is passionate about accessibility in art and has been dedicated to the museum for 12 years. In this interview, Nicole Cromartie, the Manager of Family Programs, talks to Marquetta about her role as a teaching artist for the family programs. — link to Medium.

Photo by Aneta Pawlik on Unsplash

Chatbot at Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Innovation Studio, the research, design, and development lab at Carnegie Museums, set out to develop a chatbot that complements the seasonal program, Summer Adventure. The Andy CarnegieBot works with Facebook messenger and can send updates on museum activities and events to keep visitors engaged. Innovation Studio open sources all of their projects in GitHub so you can explore the Andy CarnegieBot along with their other projects. — link to Medium.

Akron Art Museum Chatbot

Dot, the new chatbot at the Akron Art Museum, helps visitors draw connections between life and the artworks they are viewing. This project was funded by the Knight Foundation as part of an initiative to help people engage with art through the use of digital technology. After two years of research and development, Dot was released last week and is interacting with visitors to engage them with the art and with each other.— link to Cleveland.com.

Wonderland at ACMI

The Wonderland exhibition at ACMI is half way through its run and the museum has been posting about the experience along the way. The exhibition has an in-gallery component and a post-visit experience that both require the Lost Map of Wonderland. The map is given to the visitors at the beginning of their visit and it guides them through the exhibit, providing clues and directions as the visitors take their journey through Wonderland. This blogpost discusses the process of developing and prototyping the map and takeaways from the project for the museum’s upcoming renewal. — link to Medium.

Digital Literacy in Museums

Tackling digital literacy in museums is a large project and figuring out where to begin can be difficult. The One by One project “a 30 month national digital literacy building project for UK museums of all sizes and types.” The goal of the project is to develop a set of sector-wide definition of key terms, skills and best practice to help museums find the starting place for their digital transformations. — link to Medium.

“The vaulted hall in the Natural History Museum in London illuminated by the sun” by Claudio Testa on Unsplash

Change in Museums

Sparking transformative change in an organization cannot be done alone and requires the museums to challenge themselves, even when they are comfortable in their routine. “Positive museum or community change depends on moving ahead with others. It depends on thinking and learning together, drawing on different perspectives, bringing in fresh ideas from related contexts, making hard choices.” Making change in an organization requires strategic planning and guidance in order to make true progress. Challenging the museum’s current beliefs can begin with questions like these: In what ways can our museum strengthen our community?, Whose museum is this?, What can our role as a leader in learning in our community be?, What is worth discovering?, What happens at this museum?, In what ways can our museum encourage and extend meaningful interactions and connections among people and out into the community? — link to Museum Notes.

Cultivating Curators of Color

Museum staff diversity is not representative of the country’s demographics. Some museums are taking steps to make a change and hiring more staff members of color. Institutions like Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art are offering paid internships and partnering with foundations and universities to fund curatorial positions in order to provide more opportunities in the arts. In 2015, the Mellon Foundation conducted a study that found only 16 percent of leadership positions in art museums are held by people of color but 38 percent of Americans identify as Asian, black, Hispanic or multiracial. Programs like the Prep for Prep/Sotheby’s Art Academy help disadvantaged high school students gain exposure to careers in the art world. Foundations like the Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation have also made commitments to instill change, donating $6 million toward diversifying curators and management at art museums across the country. — link to The New York Times.

Hashtags we’re following…


We’re taking part in Culture Pass and so many other library cardholders are too. Over 9,500 reservations were made for passes to museums and cultural orgs across NYC.


The new episode of the Museopunks podcast will be interesting to anyone interested in the overlap of museums and virtual reality.

See you next week!

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