Awards and Competitions

In This Section

2018 MUSE Award Winners

Audio Experiences

Gold
Through the Eyes of Love
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Through the Eyes of Love represents a new kind of hybrid – mixing the intimacy of podcasts with the on-site functionality of audio tours to make art accessible to a whole new audience. This work expresses a vulnerability that came across as real and authentic. Given the overall emotional state of the world, it was nice to hear something with a focus on positive emotions.

Silver
For Kids, By Kids Audio Guide
Philadelphia Museum of Art

For Kids, by Kids let kids drive the narrative and was better for it. The tour allows children’s’ voices and questions to emerge, giving permission to younger listeners to ask questions of their own and think more deeply about the images in the exhibition. Collaborating with kids can take extra effort, but was well worth it for this project!

Bronze
Bullock Museum Exhibition Soundscapes
Bullock Texas State History Museum

Bullock Texas State History Museum has exhibition soundscapes that add an emotional layer to the exhibits. The Voices from the Storm was especially effective, providing an extra layer of empathy for the victims of the recent Houston storm. Hearing the stories of people in their own words, was powerful.

Honorable Mention
Central Garden Tour
Paul Getty Museum

Central Garden Tour offered excellent sound design and pacing, a good mix of voices, music and natural sound with lots of opportunities for feeling immersed. It allows listeners to hear from the creators of this historic garden and gave equal weight to the horticulturalist and Robert Irwin himself.

Digital Communities

Gold
MCA Stories
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

The jurors found MCA Stories “an amazing project”, pointing out that “it’s a good resource that will continue to be available and grow with more content over time”. This is a clear and coherent exercise of MCA’s own DNA to celebrate fifty years as a hub of creativity and community in Chicago.

Silver
#MuseumSnowballFight
Museum of the City of New York

Jurors agreed the Snowball Fight was one of the most refreshing uses of Twitter as a medium and loved how it went viral and exposed people in the “Twitterverse” to material from historical museums’ collections that usually are not that popular, in a very clever way – what a social network ought to be.

Bronze
Teddy Rex – The Tinder T. rex
Royal Ontario Museum

Jurors cheered the Teddy Rex project being out of the box and unique, especially when we consider how many museum institutions are viewed as conservative. An innovative and engaging project that used a blend of Tinder together with some new information from the museum in a light, fun, clever, yet non-prescriptive way.

Education & Outreach

Gold
Accessible Label System
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

The museum has affirmed an admirable commitment to inclusivity by making exhibition design and digital information accessible to a range of abilities. As a museum that emphasizes the value of design in improving people’s lives, Cooper Hewitt’s efforts to improve the experience of visitors with disabilities with their own didactics are commendable. Their Accessible Label System can be used as a model for other museum professionals who believe that equal access is a human right.

Silver
A Literary Gathering in Qingshui–NPM Painting and Calligraphy New Media Art Exhibition
National Palace Museum

This program conveys the esoteric knowledge of nature in ancient Chinese culture is addressed in innovative ways while still acknowledging traditional values. The project uses a bold application of digital AR and VR technology to offer an immersive experience that is directly inspired by the museum collection. This is a captivating project that combines virtual reality and animation to create an immersive and visually stunning learning experience.

Bronze
Native Knowledge 360° Digital Lessons
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian

This is a groundbreaking educational resource. The museum has made a website experience feel like an exciting exploration instead of a slog through a catalog index. Big, bold colorful images greet and direct you to the different pathways, and suggest content along the way. This resource makes its subject matter easy to integrate into any K-12 curriculum topic: from art to science.

Honorable Mention
Tinkering Journey Sketchbook
National Taiwan Science Education Center

The app provides a platform for collaboratively engaging multigenerational audiences in the creative process as a companion tool to an onsite Tinkering Workshop. “Tinkering” and the “maker movement” are current trends in the science center world but this project avoids focusing strictly on “cool technologies”. It helps to develop core thinking skills related to the engineering design process.

Honorable Mention
NCMALearn
North Carolina Museum of Art

NCMALearn reflects the museum’s long-standing commitment to the North Carolina schoolteachers to support their curriculum with high-quality content drawn from NCMA’s collection. This beautifully designed site is a model for how museums can share resources in ways that are more useful for teachers: providing detail object info, relevant topics, and ease of discovery of desired materials.

Honorable Mention
In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting MOOC
The Museum of Modern Art

This program is MoMA’s eighth massive open online course. It’s an exemplary learning platform that makes complex information accessible and relevant to a wide spectrum of learners. This project is to be commended for its effectiveness in creating an audience-focused, participatory learning environment.

Games & Virtual/Augmented Reality

Gold
ReBlink
Art Gallery of Ontario

This AR experience re-interprets and sparks curiosity for artworks that people may overlook or initially have no interest in — perhaps by being a bit subversive. In this way, it engages new audiences. It’s more than simply a layering of static information. It engages and challenges its users.

Silver
Utah Climate Challenge
Natural History Museum of Utah

This game presented clear learning goals and accomplished them all — and provided stats to back up their success. It engages youth who might not have a clear understanding of climate change and its consequences in ways that are easy to understand. We felt that it represents a high standard for game design, giving players agency and integrating cooperative gameplay with teachable outcomes.

Bronze
Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier
Tate Modern

This was a well-produced and polished VR experience. It presented a clear target audience—museumgoers in the 45-65-year-old age bracket— catering the experience to them. It was a way to “soft sell” VR to an audience new to the technology. It also integrates well with the rest of the exhibition, providing new context to Modigliani’s art that visitors will see after their VR experience.

Honorable Mention
Virtual Architecture Museum
Russian Ministry of Culture

This app presents a good use for VR–allowing users to explore un-built architecture by viewing it “in person”. We were impressed by how they recreated buildings based on models and drawings and placed them in context within cityscapes. It received bonus points for translation into multiple languages and availability on multiple devices and stores.

Interactive Kiosks

Gold
Design-a-Lamp
New-York Historical Society

The centerpiece of this program is a tactile and visually dynamic experience placing visitors in the shoes of a Tiffany Studios glass selector. The combination of tactile, visual, and interactive choices allows a user to set the colors for a 62-piece lamp. Visitors grasp the challenges of creating an aesthetically successful lamp shade and gain an understanding of the process that leads from a two-dimensional design to a finished, 3D object.

Silver
Gaze Tracker: Eye-Tracking Sensor Interactive Technology
The Cleveland Museum of Art

Gaze Tracker, part of the ARTLENS Gallery space at CMA, uses advanced eye-tracking technology to reveal where visitors’ eyes move across a work of art. This amazing application provides the visitors with an impetus to look longer and closer at the art and reinforces the notion that there is no right way to experience art.

Bronze
Curious Collections
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

The Curious Collections interactive cabinet brings together community-curated objects from the four Carnegie Museums in a display at the Pittsburgh International Airport. Visitors interact with objects such as 3D prints, motion-activated morphing shapes on screens, and more. The context, layers of participation and interaction, and diversity of medium involved, together make this an exceptional project.

Honorable Mention
Pong to Pokémon Music Trivia Interactive
Bullock Texas State History Museum

The Bullock Museum created a trivia interactive in the style of a 1980’s video game to teach visitors about the importance of music and sound in gameplay. This interactive truly shows that an engaging, fun and educational experience can be created for a nominal cost and with limited resources. As one juror said, “this speaks directly to my childhood!”

Interpretive Interactive Installations

Gold
Abe & Ida Cooper Survivor Stories Experience
Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

This experience uses innovative technology to create a powerful new visitor experience, while at the same time capturing a thorough record of holocaust survivor experiences. Its use of three-dimensional holographic technology combined with voice recognition enables audiences to feel that they are interacting with Holocaust Survivors in a series of one-on-one conversations.

Silver
Lava Centre
Lava Centre

The Iceland Volcano and Earthquake Centre, LAVA successfully implements a wide variety of display technologies and interaction techniques to tell the story of volcanism. The exhibition includes outstanding scientific visualizations with links to real-time data streams from sensors placed in the field.

Bronze
The Color of Being/El Color del Ser: DOROTHY HOOD (1918-2000)
Art Museum of South Texas, Affiliated with TAMU-CC

The digital interactive elements of the Color of Being Dorthy Hood (1918-2000) exhibit at the Art Museum of South Texas provide a strong complement to the paintings on exhibition. The exhibit presents a strong and varied way to use digital tools to explore art and art making.

Honorable Mention
The National WWII Museum Interactives Reimagined
The National WWII Museum

The new interactives at the National WWII Museum combine outstanding design and solid storytelling.  The personalized Dog Tag Experience provides continued opportunities for interaction after the museum visit ends.

Mobile Applications 

Gold
Send Me SFMOMA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Send Me SFMOMA’s combination of simplicity and surprise makes this project a standout. Using text messaging to expose hidden gems from their collections, the project has seen huge success with millions of interactions from curious users. The panel was also impressed that SFMOMA has shared their code and collaborated with other museums to extend the project beyond their collection.

Silver
Chicago 00: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
Chicago History Museum

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre project stood out as an excellent storytelling use of virtual reality. We felt it delivers an exceptional locative/mobile experience enabling onsite or offsite visitors to access historical documentation of an infamous story at a presently unmarked scene.

Bronze
Dawn Chorus
Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

The panel was impressed with Dawn Chorus as a product and a concept, taking over one of the core apps people use every day on their phone. The idea to rethink an everyday application to engage audiences in the museum’s research and conservation efforts shows real innovation. We liked the design and the solid functionality.

Honorable Mention
Freer Thinking Audio App
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

The Freer Thinking app features excellent accessibility-first onboarding, delivering high-quality media production and narration of collections.

Multimedia Installations

Gold
Beyond Ice
Canadian Museum of Nature

The simply formed but very large sculptural multimedia screens in this installation may be shaped like blocks of ice but they allow easy and friendly access to visitors. This project easily attracts an audience and entices them to interact with it.

Silver
Fate in the Balance
James Madison’s Montpelier

The simple black and white overall look and feel is actively speaking to its audience with its metaphoric color oppositions. The voiceovers – drawn from archival materials such as period diaries and newspaper articles – give the past a strong voice to communicate the understanding that human beings suffered under slavery. This is a very powerful program.

Bronze
Renewed House of Mondrian – cradles of abstract art
Mondriaanhuis Amersfoort

These two video installations tell the story of Mondrian in pictures and music – two universal languages. The multimedia concept represents a new approach to the use of film or video in museums. The installation itself is a character in the story being told and clever projection mapping enhances mood and story.

Online Presence

Gold
Museum Crush
Culture24

Museum Crush pushes the museum field forward in sheer human effort, in service to the wider museum field, and spotlights important, if lesser heard stories.

Silver
Sq’éwlets: A Stó:lō-Coast Salish Community in the Fraser River Valley
School of Interactive Arts and Technology

This is a “from-the-ground-up” inclusive, co-created, never patronizing, and intensely engaging dive into a vibrant native culture.

Bronze
Solar Eclipse 2017
American Museum of Natural History

The museum has shown the field what an online presence of 2018 really can be— relevant, multichannel, and continually evolving.

Bronze
Barnes Foundation Collection Online
Barnes Foundation

This is an innovative melding of machine learning and art collection data. This experiment is well documented and grants a tantalizing glimpse at what Artificial Intelligence holds for the future of the study of art.

Open Culture

Gold
MicroPlants Citizen Science Interactive
The Field Museum

This project took an interesting approach to using open-source code from an online digital citizen science project and adapting it for use in a kiosk in the museum. The easy-to-use interface allows general museum visitors to participate in the digital community project.

Podcasts

Gold
Texas Story Podcast: Stevie Ray Vaughan
Bullock Texas State History Museum

Texas Story Podcast is a journey of personal discovery for a young museum into the life and legacy of a musical artist unknown to her.  This is an innovative approach to the podcast medium for museums. The jury was impressed by the personal approach, the original idea, the accessible form, and quality of narrative and sound. It’s an authentic, honest, personal, and entertaining story.

Silver
A Piece of Work
Museum of Modern Art

This program stands to attract and engage new and younger audiences to modern and contemporary art…a formidable challenge! The idea to team-up with comedian, TV star and art graduate Abby Jacobson is inspired. The program is high energy, sharp, and fresh, with great sound design. With this project, MOMA shows it can bridge the gap in between audiences and modern art.

Bronze
Raw Material Season 2: Manifest
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

This program continues its groundbreaking course of reaching beyond the museum walls and out to a wider audience with diverse perspectives on contemporary arts. The jury is impressed by the very personal narratives of the different artists featured in this series on social themes like colonialism, immigration, race, gender, and disability. Our hearts were warmed.

Honorable Mention
Flatbush + Main: A Podcast from Brooklyn Historical Society
Brooklyn Historical Society

The jury is impressed with the way in which this program creates a platform where contemporary issues are discussed and put in historical context in ways that are understandable for everyone in its community. We think this important in today’s world. The combination of discussion, storytelling, and ‘exhibition’ of the archive is considered a very strong format.

Honorable Mention
Museums in Strange Places
University of Iceland

If the title of this podcast series does not already trigger your curiosity and puts a smile on your face, the determination and adventurous spirit of this maker and the local professionals she portrays certainly will. The host harvests rich, remarkable stories for her audiences from, indeed, some very curious places. It’s all delivered beautifully and is well annotated through ample show notes.

Public Outreach

Gold
Barnes Foundation Partners with Indego Bike Share for Audience Development
Barnes Foundation

This program is sharply focused and finely honed – it’s well thought on so many levels. Its active embrace of empathy and involvement with its community makes it an effort that few other outreach programs can match. It demonstrates the importance of matched values with a program partner and a keen understanding of community needs.

Silver
Choose Your Chihuly
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Getting the “crowd” involved in an acquisition decision or exhibition selection is a seriously fun idea. It was easy and fun to participate in this campaign and the project reflects the careful thought that went into developing it.

Bronze
2017 Happy Holidays from Crystal Bridges
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

As they say, never try to upstage kids or animals – they win every time.
This holiday video is pure fun! The takeaway is that the Museum is for everyone … a perfect message of holiday greeting.

Video, Film, & Computer Animation

Gold
Chaney Goodman Schwerner Theater
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

At first glance, the story of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner appears commonplace in today’s world. But this retelling of a Civil Rights-era struggle cannot be contained in a traditional 16:9 format. The scale and shape of the projected images, which quite literally spill on the walls and floor, involve the viewer emotionally and intellectually from a fresh perspective. The film’s rich sound design and eloquent narration elevate the piece into an essential cultural experience for all ages.

Silver
Legacies
James Madison’s Montpelier

Legacies presents us with an opportunity to give thought to the contemporary consequence of slavery in the U.S. Powerful images flood and fade across a collage of screens of different sizes and orientations creating a dynamic platform to tell of the black American experience. With a skillful balance of historical research and journalism, the film pulls from past and present archival media sources to emphasize the complexity of historical racial bias.

Bronze
The Animated Genome
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

NIH National Human Genome Research Institute

The Animated Genome is an exciting film demonstrating the high potential of animation to introduce complex ideas to beginner audiences. With clever uses of upbeat music and whimsical motion graphics, the video entertains the viewer while unpacking the genetic biology of life.

Honorable Mention
Freedom Summer Immersive Theater
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

This film takes immersion to the next level. Inside a recreated Mississippi-style country church viewers are invited to sit in the pews to experience an innovative way of presenting first-person narratives. With unique uses of auxiliary lights and sound, this program succeeds in providing a physical context to draw nearer to the stories of struggle for freedom and equality.

Honorable Mention
Galaxy Adventure of the NPM Guardians
National Palace Museum

A museums biggest challenge is often how to appeal to young audiences. This well-crafted animated film creates an entertaining adventure for the viewer by using characters in the museum’s own collection. Galaxy is a great example of the narrative potential for all museums.

Honorable Mention
The Invention of Thanksgiving
National Museum of the American Indian

This film courageously innovates and educates by reexamining the American tradition of Thanksgiving in a new light. A fusion of both modern and historical points of view on the subject is artfully executed by combining provoking voice over with creative visual techniques to include animation, collages, and archival footage. Audiences of all ages have something to take away from this dynamic story that challenges our concept of this time-honored American tradition.

Honeysett & Din Student Award

Gold
Investigating an ancient mummy with x-ray imaging and augmented reality
Block Museum of Art

An interdisciplinary group of professors and students employed AR to help patrons explore mummies while navigating the ethical issues associated with human remains.

Silver
Engaging Folsom (10,800 – 10,200) Hunter-Gatherers with 3D Technologies
Museum of Texas Tech University

In this project, students employed technology to allow patrons to use tactile and auditory senses to explore exhibition concepts.

Bronze
Museum Sound Design: “Abyss”
Block Museum of Art

This project employed technology to refine the ways sound is used in exhibition as a means of improving the visitor experience.

Jim Blackaby Memorial Award

Abe & Ida Cooper Survivor Stories Experience
Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

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