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Weekly Roundup: Museums in the News 7/28/2017

Category: Alliance Blog

1. The National Museums of Scotland has launched a ‘contactless donation experience’. The museums wanted to “make donating as easy as dropping a coin in a bucket” while integrating “the act of giving into the visitor experience, providing something both visual and interactive.” This article is an interesting primer on integrating new types of philanthropic experiences.

Making Contact: Digital experiments with visitor donations

The Digital Media team at National Museums Scotland has been thinking about visitor donations for quite a while. Way back in 2015 we walked past the Cancer Research shop on Kensington High Street featuring their “Tap to Donate” campaign.

2. And while we’re on the topic of new modes of philanthropy, the Washington Post dives into the data of the Smithsonian’s crowdfunding efforts where it used Kickstarter for several conservation fundraising campaigns.  “We’re not only trying to fund the projects, we are reaching audiences that we might not reach through other channels,” said Scott Tennent, the Smithsonian’s director of advancement communications.

Saving America’s treasures (one online campaign at a time)

It seemed a smart gamble. The Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum complex, would pass a virtual hat around the world, asking for money to conserve a few of its most beloved objects. The bet paid off.

3. The Innovation Studio at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh shares its process and findings from the user research phase in developing an experimental chatbot. Jeffery Inscho explains, “After all, even though we’re developing a bot, we’re really designing for humans who will be interacting with the bot.” I’d love to see if these data vary for visitors of different types of museums.

Field Study: Benchmarking Visitor Behaviors and Mobile Device Usage in the Museum

Wow, it certainly seems texting with a museum has quickly become all the rage! We couldn’t agree more. As we begin the experience design and active prototyping phases to our museum chatbot project, we will rely on user input as much as possible.

4. Copyright can be a complicated topic for museums, but Professor Ronan Deazley of Queen’s University Belfast and CREATe postgraduate researchers Victoria Stobo and Andrea Wallace are helping us navigate that complexity with the ‘Copyright Cortex’. This new online resource shares a wide range of materials related to copyright and digital cultural heritage as well as Copyright 101 texts for free download.

The Copyright Cortex: Launch Event

Victoria Stobo reports on the launch of the Copyright Cortex, at the British Library: The Copyright Cortex is the brainchild of Professor Ronan Deazley of Queen’s University Belfast and CREATe postgraduate researchers Victoria Stobo and Andrea Wallace. An online resource dedicated to copyright and digital cultural heritage, it was developed to provide libraries, archives, museums…

5. If I haven’t nerded out enough in this week’s Roundup with chatbots, touchless donations, crowdfunding and a cortex, let’s finish up with this excellent article about modeling, machine learning and digital art history by Matthew Lincoln of the Getty Research Institute. The article looks at how computational simulations can reveal “a perspective that would otherwise have gone unseen.” (It even includes tips for getting started with this kind of research!)

Predicting the Past: Digital Art History, Modeling, and Machine Learning

We are surrounded by models. When you check the weather forecast in the morning before going to work, you are seeing the result of a model of your local atmosphere. This model is a set of rules and data manipulations built according to past observations of the weather, and refined over many years of testing and evaluation of predictions against actual results.

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