Experiential Designers Gibson Group Calls for Bigger, Bolder Thinking from Museums
What museums are getting right and wrong when it comes to embracing today’s new digital landscape is analyzed by Gibson Group’s director of visitor experiences Allan Smith in an Entrepreneur.com op-ed “See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me: Museums Need Tech Entrepreneurs.” Wellington-based Smith’s provocative opinion piece puts the “millennial challenge” to these venerable institutions. “Namely, what do the world’s great institutions need to do to engage a 21st century, screen-addicted generation?” Smith writes. “How do you integrate new technology into something as classic and physical as the museum-going experience?”
Smith suggests that kiosks and “beacons”—a new form of Bluetooth technology that tracks patrons as they wander around galleries and enables museums to send personalized messages to their devices—might not be the answer. “The danger. . . is that too much technology will plug people back into their own little screens,” Smith explains. “ [M]useums need to be bigger and bolder in their thinking. They need to get people away from the small screens—Instagram treks and selfie hunts—and get them interacting with the space as well as one other.” Emphasizing that local and international museums need the insight of tech companies, start-ups, and entrepreneurs if they are to successfully engage a new audience, Smith concludes his thought leadership piece with five clear and proscriptive measures that tech companies can make to help historic institutions make the digital leap.
Smith knows of what he speaks: in February of this year, Gibson Group unveiled at the El Paso Museum of History a large-scale interactive experience called DIGIE (Digital Information Gateway), a 36-foot-long, five-foot-tall exhibition that is the biggest touchframe in the U.S. and the largest permanent exhibition of its kind in the world. Using Gibson Group’s award-winning TouchCity® platform, DIGIE provides El Paso museum residents and visitors with a multi-user media experience that takes public and personal archives and photos and transforms them into cascading, 3-D cityscapes.
The impact of the Gibson Group’s exhibition has been enormous—with museum attendance doubling since DIGIE’s debut. In addition, in August the El Paso museum project took home the “Exhibit Technology” category award from the Mountain-Plains Museums Association (MPMA), one of six regional associations in the U.S. that work in conjunction with the American Association of Museums. “I’d argue that the great institutions can uphold traditional while embracing technology; they can value contemplation but respect the need visitors have to be part of the conversation,” says Smith. “All they need remember to do it right is that museums are one of the original social media platforms.”
Article Source: Entrepreneur.com