Weekly Studio Roundup #7

Digital Access, Generating Content & GitHub

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Around the web

Pinterest and Online Collections

The Met collected data from a survey of users exploring the museum collection on Pinterest and those visiting the collections website to view the works. This helped them to better understand the path of the users and the various “collections” of their own they were putting the museum’s objects into. Based on the data, the Met learned that over half of the Pinterest users that visited the online collection had never been to the museum in person. They gained insight about the impact that having the online collection on multiple platforms was having on their ability to reach new audiences. — link to Medium.

Engaging Teachers with Digital Museum Resources

The Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access conducted a two-year study to discover the ways that teachers use digital collections and online museum resources to enhance or develop lesson plans. Metadata that is usually important to the museum, such as dimensions and provenance, was less relevant to teachers who utilized detailed descriptions and relation to events in history and culture. Technology was an anticipated barrier that turned out to not be an issue for teachers in accessing the resources. When faced with challenges of how to access or distribute the information, such as a lack of available computers, they developed creative solutions to be able to work with the resources. The Smithsonian Learning Lab resource page provides a look at lessons that have already been developed through the use of the digital collections as a place for reuse, adaptation, and inspiration. — link to American Alliance of Museums.

Archiving Born-Digital Content

Princeton University’s team of archivists have been working to archive all types of content and that now includes content that is digital in its original format. The university recognized that the the student body was no longer in a paper-based environment and hadn’t been for a while. They are very interested in keeping strong records of student life on campus, including archives of activism, and they needed to find a way to most efficiently preserve the new data. While thinking digitally was not new to this team, they had to think about what applications will continue to exist and what files formats will be readable in the future.— link to Princeton Alumni Weekly.

“Hand holding iPhone mobile phone taking picture of purple hallway in the background” by 贝莉儿 NG on Unsplash

Evaluating User Generated Content

Unlike most museums, the Royal Ontario Museum is encouraging visitors to take photos in their spaces. Photographs taken by the visitors are considered user generated content which has added up to more than 263,000 images over the past few years at ROM. Ryan Dodge, the Digital Engagement Strategist at the museum, was interested in how these images and the visitors’ actions could affect decision-making and evaluation in the museum. The visitor photos have been used for a variety of things like the live photo wall at the museum’s Friday Night Live event and on the homepage of the website to show potential visitors what the museum is like from the perspective of other visitors. Ryan Dodge makes an interesting point that people like to see things before they buy them and that museum experiences are no different. The benefits of photo sharing were an increase in visual content for the museum, word of mouth marketing, and a boost in attendance. Besides the marketing and attendance advantages of this photography study, the museum was able to collect data on what the subjects of the photos are, the locations they were taken in the museum, and the people in the photos, among other categories. — link to Museum-iD.

Developing Compelling Content

Seema Rao has created a content strategy matrix for developing compelling content. Visitors to museums need content to stay engaged but developing this content is not easy. This matrix includes four categories which are entertain, inform, inspire, and convince. The balance of each of the categories will change depending on the desired message of the content. — link to Brilliant Idea Studio.

Wonderland at ACMI

The Wonderland exhibition at ACMI had technology components that included an interactive user map and a post-visit website when visitors could download characters they created at the museum. This article documents the experience of developing the project from start to finish. — link to Medium.

A Balance Between Art and Technology

Earlier this year, the Seattle Art Museum hired its first Chief Technology Officer, Manish Engineer. He sat down with Geekwire recently to discuss his plans for the museum and the digital transformation he hopes to lead there. Engineer is determined find the right balance between art and technology. He wants to put the art first and use technology to enhance or supplement the experience without distracting from the art. — link to Seattle Art Museum.

“Lines of programming code displayed on a MacBook on a sofa” by Goran Ivos on Unsplash

Microsoft Acquires GitHub

This past week Microsoft announced its agreement to acquire GitHub, a platform where developers can collaborate, talk to one another, and share open source code. Microsoft is invested in open source and wants to maintain GitHub’s vision of putting the developer first. Microsoft plans to empower developers and provide access to their tools and resources as well as reach new audiences. — link to Microsoft.

Microsoft’s Undo Button

GitHub allows teams of developers to coordinate and collaborate more easily while using git. Users can make “branches” where they can make edits in the code and git keeps track of the changes and revisions of a project. For a while, Microsoft was not in favor of open source software but has changed its attitude towards it altogether ultimately leading to the purchase of GitHub. Along with the announcement of the acquisition, Microsoft has voiced its commitment to earning the trust of the developers using the platform. — link to Bloomberg..

Designing Immersive Experiences with Adobe

Adobe has shared a preview of a new tool they are releasing called Project Aero. Project Aero is a multi-platform system that allows users to create augmented reality content. Together with Apple, Adobe is working towards a platform that makes it easier for designers and developers to create AR experiences. — link to Adobe.

Ten Provocations for Digital Staff

As part of the Museums Galleries Australia National Conference this year, Seb Chan developed a list of provocations for digital staff at museums. The list compiles ten frustrations that are common across the board for digital staff and highlight issues that are relevant to museums around the world. — link to Medium.

Hashtags we’re following…


The Museums Galleries Australia National Conference took place this week and focused on theme of “Agents of Change,” calling museums and galleries to effect positive social change. Seb Chan wrote a Twitter list of digital museum provocations for this conference:


The Eyeo Festival was hosted in Minneapolis earlier this week and covered topics surrounding the intersection of art, data, and creative technology.

See you next week!