2014 MUSE Award Winners

Applications & APIs

Gold: President Lincoln’s Cottage

Visitor Education Re-Vision (VERV) Application

Jurors said that “it brings content outside the museum into the visitor’s mobile tablet experience” and is an “excellent use of technology to present and interpret art in terms of history, aesthetics, and culture.”  They added that it seems “very appealing for further discovery of content after the visit, furthering the reach of the exhibit.”

Silver: Hello Design and The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Nature at NHM

Jurors said that it “shows how participatory and locally-focused efforts can succeed,” and called it “a digital project that is using technology in an innovative way by soliciting observations and engaging individuals in citizen-science projects. They are really using the digital experience to explore and open up opportunities beyond the in-person museum visit.”

Bronze: Indianapolis Museum of Art


Jurors said that “this application is fantastic for visitors who can’t make it to the exhibit,” and admired the user of “powerful videos.”  They said it “answers the question of how to make the shift from print catalogs to a fully digital experience.”

Audio Tours and Podcasts

Gold: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

The Music Experience of This Land

Jurors said:  “We loved the multi-sensory approach of this tour, and appreciated the different entry point to the exhibition theme for different types of visitors. This is a neat idea- Crystal Bridges went the extra mile to connect with their local community through this tour.”

Silver: USS Midway Museum and Antenna International

USS Midway Museum Access Tours

Jurors said: “The Midway Museum really listened to what their audience needs with these very targeted sight- and hearing-impaired tours. These tours set the standard for accessibility.”

Bronze: Taiwan National Museum of Natural Science

Explore & Learn Pack

Jurors said: “There are a lot of interesting things going on in this engaging experience for children on school visits. With this guide, the National Museum of Natural Science provides a resource for teachers to gauge student interaction in a new way.”

Digital Communities

Gold: The Field Museum

The Brain Scoop

This is the kind of high-quality project– in terms of the accuracy of science/collections information, the humor, accessibility, and personality used, and the range of visitors/audiences it attracts– that most museums have been aiming for. Most have missed. The Field Museum hits this one directly on the head. (Or skull?) I am particularly impressed with the depth of engagement and two-way, inquiry-based conversations this project provokes. This is science communication at its best.

Silver: Museum at FIT

A Queer History of Fashion

This is a fantastic example of an exhibition-specific mini-site being used to extend the reach of an on-site exhibition, even past its show dates. There is a clear emphasis on education and community, not just exhibition promotion. This is wonderful to see, especially for an exhibition that addresses a marginalized community group. I hope the site continues to be maintained and sustains its online presence.

Bronze: Museum of Modern Art

Design and Violence

This is a well-designed website project to coincide and scaffold what is happening onsite at the MOMA and with related events. I believe there is potential for impact in the museum field in that it provides a mechanism to discuss and debate controversial or sensitive topics and content through lenses of not just art, but also science, history, the humanities, and the social sciences.

Honorable Mention: 9/11 Memorial Museum

9/11 Memorial Registries

This project has the potential of, at long last, connecting and uniting people dispersed around the globe around a tragedy that has affected us all. I was particularly impressed with the varying levels of access and participation available, especially as related to the privacy and confidentiality some users may desire. I look forward to continuing to watch the Registries as they grow and evolve.

Education and Outreach

Gold: C&G Partners for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Some Were Neighbors

This extremely well-designed experience has many levels of narrative and uses images, video, and text to great effect. It is a great example to emulate. It seems extremely effective in causing visitors to bring their own thoughts into the exhibit.

Silver: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

MFA for Educators

This project innovates by creating a website that houses museum lesson plans as well as the option for school teachers to create lesson plans.  Both museum-created and user-created lesson plans add to usability.

Bronze: Minnesota Historical Society

Play the Past

This experience seems to have a very strong user management function that connects students to classes and classes in the museum to back in their classroom with all the data seamlessly available.  Great for classrooms. Love the interaction between kids.

Honorable Mention: Museum of Modern Art

Art and Inquiry- Coursera and MoMA Collaboration

MoMA has always been a leader in newer technologies, and this time leading the way in its use of a MOOC.  Students who engage with the MOOCs will undoubtedly be more knowledgeable when visiting any art museum.  An interesting approach to bringing interpretation directly into the gallery as an experience in and of itself.

Games and Augmented Reality

Gold: Museum of Science and Industry

Future Energy Chicago

This is the excellent multimedia example for museums. It has successfully constructed a game-based learning model for exploring the sustainable issue of human living environment in the museum field. The visual design is fresh and appealing and the intuitive user interface allows players to friendly access and immerse in each game. This work provides a highly fun, knowledgeable, creative and participatory experience for the audience.

Silver: Techart group

The Square of Aspiration

It is just like a dream comes true, romantic but tangible.  In the Square of Aspiration, visitors explored and recalled their childhood through the diversity dream windows. Through a smart phone and augmented reality (AR) technology visitors can become the characters in tiny miniature landscapes, taking pictures as digital souvenirs for the journey.

Bronze: Museum Victoria

Build a Future City

The integration of physical model with digital system gives visitors a unique hands-on experience with fun and joy.  The technologies used are fundamental but in an appropriate way.  Especially the physical model makes the operation easy for young visitors

Honorable Mention: Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab


This project thinks outside the box to pitch ideas and technologies for museums. It combines science, technology, and imagination.  It is creepy but fun and full of imagination.   The whole environment is full of a mysterious atmosphere.

Honeysett & Din Award

Gold:  Balboa Park Online Collaborative; Information Services International-Dentsu, Ltd.; Japanese Friendship Garden, San Diego; National Institute of Information and Communications Technology; University of California San Diego, PRIME

JFG Haiku Hunt

Highly interactive, infusing the existing visitor experience with playfulness, participation, and freshness, this project combines education and entertainment in an exciting way. The app leverages the geo-location functionality of a mobile device, traditional Japanese haiku, and a scavenger hunt to encourage learning and discovery.

Silver: Museum of Modern Art

“Think Inside the Box”

“Think Inside the Box!” is a terrific new model for presenting online courses for teens and by teens using MoMA’s custom online learning interface. Materials are written and produced by teens, for teens, and encourage participation and online exchange using MoMA’s online learning tool. Videos are well produced and accessible.

Bronze:  Corcoran College of Art + Design

“Hack the Box: Re-programming the Museum Experience”

This is a great example of inviting the public to re-think the museum, with an innovative use of technology to force connections within the physical spaces in the museum.

Interactive Kiosks

Gold: WEATHERHEAD Experience Design Group for the Museum of History and Industry

Our Neighborhoods

This multi-touch experience provides a forum for visitors to browse and share their knowledge of their favorite Central Puget Sound neighborhoods, icons, and places while experiencing local neighborhood history.  This kiosk is recognized for it excellent use of design, multiple ways to explore. The addition of multimedia components such as the incorporation of local music is highly effective.

Silver: Vancouver Aquarium

Anglerfish Interactive

Anglerfish Interactive is an interactive kiosk that takes interaction to the next level of engagement.  This kiosk is recognized for it creative use of incorporating the visitor experience into the storyline of the anglerfish. Its simple approach and limited budget represents a best practice for museums trying to make a big impact with limited resources.

Bronze:  Art Institute of Chicago

Renoir’s True Colors: Science Solves a Mystery

There is more than meets the eye with the Art Institute of Chicago’s Renoir’s True Colors interactive display. Visitors can enjoy the works of the master but also use the kiosk to understand the process that Renoir used to get to the final look.   The kiosk is recognized for its clever design and the ability to engage people on many different levels. It directly uses educational techniques that help the visitor to make comparisons to 21st-century art-making processes.

Interpretive Interactive Installations

Gold: New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

The Hall of the Stars 

We loved the grassroots spirit of the project, particularly the use of low-cost technologies and the team of dedicated volunteers. Visitors are able to learn about astronomy through relatable terms, from focusing on sky objects you can see over changing seasons to what’s observable from your own backyard. The Hall of Stars captures the essence of tech projects that do not require a large budget to create an immersive and engaging experience.

Silver: National Palace Museum

Qianlong C.H.A.O. New Media Art Exhibition

The Qianlong C.H.A.O. New Media Art Exhibition captures the essence of this category. The exhibit incorporates a wide array of innovative technologies that include gesture recognition, facial mapping, augmented reality, and image recognition. We loved the pop culture take on Qianlong’s emperor culture. This creates an atmosphere that looks fun and enjoyable which also makes good use of historical artifacts.

Bronze: Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

XOXO Tone Phones

The message behind XOXO Tone Phones is important: Think about how you communicate and how the tone of your voice may affect how your words are perceived by the listener. The playful aspect of being able to change your voice and tone as you create visualizations of your voice is very interactive and appealing to any age group.

Honorable Mention: Museum Victoria

Super Future You

Super Future You is Super Fun! How awesome is it to be able to choose realistic evolutions of bioengineering in addition to fantastical body parts – on you! And then, not only can you see yourself with these new additions, but also try them out with a throw/kick ball game – so cool!

Honorable Mention: Olson Kundig Architects

Bezos Center for Innovation

The Bezos Center for Innovation makes up a unique group of exhibits that tell the story of innovation in Seattle. The exhibit highlights the talent and culture of a local area and at the same time renders the importance of nurturing and embracing innovation in our era. There were many interactive components to the exhibit, even the main sign for the exhibit turned out to be a useful bench you could sit on!

Mobile Applications

Gold: The New York Botanical Garden

Wild Medicine

This is an excellent example of how to use technology to draw attention to and enhance understanding of heritage resources – in this case, plants.  The Wild Medicine app’s use of innovative technologies, such as augmented reality and 3D animations makes the stories of the plants come to life in incredibly engaging and relevant ways.  This app provides a meaningful, and essential thread of interpretation that might be normally overlooked in a typical visitor experience.”  And “The inclusion of multiple voices in the narration is extremely well done and indicates the constellation of expertise required for exploring plants.”

Silver: Techart group

The Dream Time Machine

Jurors said this project is “Immersive, participatory and surprising. Visitors are taken on a magical adventure with the help of a mobile device and digital exhibits. It takes the immersive experience up several notches, creates an engaging and fully interactive experience for users, moves the device to an integral part of the experience.” And “Their innovative use of location-based technologies and augmented reality ensures that this mobile experience bleeds into the physical environment.”

Bronze: Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim App

Jurors said “The sheer breadth of Guggenheim’s mobile app is one of the main reasons for applause.  The app is chock-a-block full of content, information about the museum, current exhibitions, collections, visitor amenities and services, and social media, often in several languages.” And  “One of the most important and innovative strengths of this application is its close attention to accessibility and universal design principles.”

Multimedia Installations

Jury Chair Joowon Lee said this of this entire category:

Keeping a balance between today’s technology and the fundamental roles museums play has been an issue for the museum field. The winners are absolutely meaningful as their immersive atmospheres provide a very fine balance between the technologies and the essences of museums. Especially, their visitors/humans-focus based executions prove what museums were fundamentally created for.

Silver: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

The Shuttle Atlantis

The video used in the project brings to life what the visitors saw as models and explanations in the other section of the exhibition. This connection with the overall exhibition amplifies the visitor experience and serves to inject awe and curiosity for space into the young visitors.  -The immersive architectural environment that surrounds the audience, transporting guests right into the center of the action and allows the audience to feel as if they are really traveling in space.

Bronze: The Field Museum

The World’s Fair Projections

The visitors who are curious about what it would have been like at the World Fair in 1893 will be intrigued by the audio rendition of the lively atmosphere of the fair and visual images of the scenes.  This project helps convey a better understanding and gives emotional attachments to historical moment.

Honorable Mention: Peabody Essex Museum

Impressionists Studio Boat

This was a very intelligent, in-depth adaptation of media technique into education of modern art; rather than focusing on participatory element alone, the educational aspect is very strong, attentive to details, and effective to audiences of all ages.    This project conveys the contextually rich academic basis of the exhibit in a very effective way.

Online Presence

Gold: Seattle Art Museum

Online Catalogue of Chinese Painting & Calligraphy

This is an amazing collaborative project both within the museum and beyond. Everything about this is tailored for the needs of a specialist audience but also manages to offer an engaging experience for the non-specialist with an interest in visual art. The zooming images are particularly impressive. It marks a new moment in online research and access.

Silver: Museum of Modern Art

Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938

The graphic and sound design of this exhibition website lead to a delightful, immersive experience.  It is richly illustrated and filled with a wealth of interactive elements, video, artist’s quotes and deep content. An exemplary exhibition website.

Bronze: Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

Na de bevrijding XL

This is a great example of exploiting archive footage and the power of the narrative. The interactive timeline interface give users access to the component archival footage/still images that comprise each episode in ways that are useful to a broad audience. A fantastic website.


Gold: The Royal Armoury, Skokloster Castle and the Hallwyl museum

Open Image Archive opens up 40,000 Swedish images

Jurors said that this project “further legitimizes the open efforts of museums, which can encounter a lot of barriers to releasing images.  This project will be another example that promotes release with open licenses, incorporation on Wikimedia Commons, and high resolution files.”  They said that it “enables the visitor experience to extend outside the museum in a truly meaningful and flexible way,” and that “making these images available for search and high-resolution download enhances the potential re-use of the collection.”

Public Outreach

Gold: Asian Art Museum

Operation: Lost Warrior

The “viral” campaign of the missing warrior launched on multiple channels in the real world and on the social media is a very original and effective idea for public outreach, very well designed and orchestrated.  Museums take themselves way too seriously, the Asian Art Museum’s campaign was outstanding!

Video, Film and Computer Animation

Gold: J. Paul Getty Museum

Jackson Pollock’s “Mural”

These videos tell the scientific story with effective graphics and useful narrative.  The visualizations and diagrams were powerful and integrated into the storytelling, providing material that the viewer would otherwise not see. Length of each piece is effective and engaging.

Silver: The Autry National Center

Nature, Revival, Storytelling

A spot-on use of video — succinct, visual, well paced, executed.  Beautiful images and stories on a subject many do not know about.  It was a great mixture of history and artist narrative.

Bronze: Royal Museums Greenwich

Royal Observatory Greenwich Big Question Films

The three videos tackle three big questions clearly and in a funny and engaging way,   using a combination of simplified language, relatable comparisons, humor, and sharp illustrations.. All educational videos should be this clear.

Honorable Mention: Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art

Set in Stone: Zen Garden Installation by Long-Bin

Great use of video techniques of timing, speed, pacing variation, cinematography, sound.  A nice little marketing pitch, and some fun artist interviews mixed in.  Informative, engaging, entertaining.

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