2015 MUSE Award Winners

Applications & APIs

Gold: Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Enterprise Content Management System

Jurors said: “This is an ambitious project that is a model for other museums to follow. Visitors definitely benefit from this strategy — they can find the publication channel that works for them in any given context. It is also great to see multi-language and universal design written into the goals.”

Silver: 9/11 Memorial Museum


Jurors said: “This is a great project with a unique collection and display of news headlines to create a timeline that is emotional, contextual, in the past, but related to the now. It provides a very powerful visual, telling an important story in a compelling way; an example of what can and should be done as a large-scale digital interaction.”

Bronze: Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

4 Stories, Issue 1 (Place)

Jurors said: “This is a unique approach to present thematic, fresh, in-depth content; the project is responsive to visitor needs. An excellent example of a worthwhile project on a small budget.”

Audio Tours and Podcasts

Gold: RISD Museum


Jurors said: “The jurors felt the RISD project excelled in both content and presentation. The recognition of many kinds of expertise, not simply art, historical, or curatorial, created a democratic and diverse platform for visitors to understand the objects on view, and perhaps imagine how their own voices might fit into the conversation.”

Silver: Peabody Essex Museum


Jurors said: “The museum did an excellent job of conveying the warmth and vibrant curiosity of its staff, while linking the Peabody Essex Museum and its programming to broader cultural issues. PEM-cast is an inspiration for other museums on what can be done on a shoestring budget by a few dedicated and talented staff.”

Bronze: The Phillips Collection

Contemplation Audio Tour

Jurors said: “With the advent of events such as Slow Art Day, there is a recognized desire to slow down the museum experience, and make it more contemplative. This audio tour does just that, encouraging deliberate interaction with art objects and slow looking. The high level of engagement and follow-through of those who take the tour is significant, and offers new ways into experiencing the art.”

Honorable Mention: 9/11 Memorial Museum

9/11 Museum Audio Guide, Witnessing History Tour  

Jurors said: “This tour presents important and solemn content for the victims, families, and survivors of the 9/11. The tour’s first-person perspectives and multiplicity of voices, from news crews, first responders, and those present on the sites, capture the diverse points of view and impact of the events.”

Digital Communities



Jurors said: “SFMOMA’s #PlayArtfully is an exemplary project for museums looking for new ways and locations to engage their audience. Without a building, SFMOMA took the game of art to the streets and to the personal worlds of its many audiences. The jury especially appreciated how most of the content – and value – of this project originated in the audience, and not in the museum. This is a true community-driven project.”

Silver: Public Catalogue Foundation

Art Detective

Jurors said: “Art Detective by Keepthinking and the Public Catalogue Foundation is a smart platform for community discussion around paintings with incomplete information. The jury values the thorough design and community management that went into this platform. It is obvious this project has started out with a very clear focus on its audience and objectives, and the jury believes it has delivered on its promise.”

Bronze: Royal Ontario Museum


Jurors said: “The Royal Ontario Museum has managed to turn their museum nights into a trending topic as #FNLROM, engaging online audiences as well as offline visitors, and lengthening the party to include YouTube videos and regular Twitter buzz. The jury appreciates the effort the ROM puts into turning an essentially offline event into a digital community, and values the loyalty of the audience.”

Education and Outreach

Gold: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Museum Mash Up: American Identity through the Arts

Jurors said: “Museum Mashup’s thoughtful curriculum structure meaningfully integrates digital tools to effectively scale the project while maintaining accountability,” and, “The site is well designed and uses technological elements (voice thread, create your own gallery,) in effective and relevant ways.”

Silver: Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House

Learning TRAILs at the Museum of Australian Democracy

Jurors said: “This project combined digital elements and a self-directed learning environment in a new and effective way,” and, “It features intuitive digital way-finding to guide groups of students, small and large, toward authentic content connections.”

Bronze: Smithsonian National Museum Natural History

Smithsonian Science How webcasts

Jurors said: “The project was ‘dynamic and interesting’ and different than many other similar projects they have seen. The webcast series is appropriately friendly and fun, while focusing on science learning.”

Honorable Mention: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

One Met. Many Worlds.

Jurors said: “One Met, Many Worlds re-thinks how to look at ‘collection highlights.’ Incorporating both the institution’s expertise and the visitors’ personal experience is an important innovation in the field.”

Games and Augmented Reality

Gold: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Skin & Bones

Jurors said: “Using augmented reality allows new and engaging ways to experience and enhance content,” and “This experience brings to life an existing/old exhibit and displays information in a modern, interesting, and relatable way.” One juror said, “I want to visit this museum just to experience this exhibit myself!”

Silver: Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Lights of Inclusion Floor Game

Jurors said: “Truly teaches the benefits as working together as opposed to separately,” calling it “elegant and beautiful.” One juror said, “The interactive projection is a very effective and engaging technology.”

Bronze: Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Actions Count Interactive Game Table

Jurors said: “Definitely weaves mystery and narrative throughout the game to engage users. Very sticky,” and, “Great way to teach these principles; the story is very well done.”

Honeysett & Din Award

Gold: Cantor Arts Center and Stanford University


The jury loved how the experience targeted not only pre-literate children but also actively engaged their caregivers in the experience. The idea of engaging young children in the delight of exploration of a museum’s exhibits and the exchange with others in TandemArt truly fosters the development of the next generation of museum visitors and supporters.

Honorable Mention: McClung Museum and University of Tennessee

The Decorative Duel

The jury was glad to see such a fully fleshed out peer-to-peer gamification experience. The application encourages deeper exploration by offering incentive points for accessing more content and rewards players through public recognition of an in-gallery scoreboard.

Interactive Kiosks

Gold: Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

Responsibility Theater

Jurors said: “From an educational perspective, this interactive demonstrates use of a sound interactive pedagogy where open-ended questions are used to allow visitors to explore their thoughts and feelings about a very complex subject. The use of real life stories and drama also helps to elicit emotions to make the experience more dramatic and personal. The jury liked that the technology blended into the background allowing the focus to be on the stories and the participants’ responses.”

Silver: 9/11 Memorial Museum

Signing Steel interactive

Jurors said: “This is a well thought out and executed example of creating a community in the way it ties a digital remembrance book to people and place. Also impressive was the immediacy of the interactive with the geolocated signature appearing just seconds after it is written, allowing people to share their personal testimony and story right there, right then. This is an interactive that is simple, emotionally connected, beautiful, and socially engaging.”

Bronze:  Liberty Science Center

Beyond Rubik’s Cube Tessellation Table

Jurors said: “This is an elegant, yet playful, multi-user graphical interface. Jurors commented that the table is completely intuitive, easy to use, and provides ways to interact with others. The jurors were all very enthusiastic about the evident delight shown when a user finds a shape that elicits a wave of tessellations that takes over the table to show all users a matching tessellation from nature.

Honorable Mention: National Museum of the Great Lakes

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Jurors said: “This is a well-executed adventure, incorporating elements of exploration, discovery, and even a bit of danger. Quality research underpins both the content and the simulation of the underwater environment into a believable immersive experience. The gaming element introduced by the use of the joystick undoubtedly adds to the fun of the experience.”

Honorable Mention: Elmhurst Historical Museum

Elmhurst History in Time and Space

Jurors said: “This interactive presents a new way to incorporate maps as teaching devices to explore local history, geography, and change over time.” Also, “The challenge of docent interpretation is well considered with a double size viewport option and mirroring onto a wall-mounted screen, providing a seamless way to let a group explore together.”

Interpretive Interactive Installations

Gold: Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

The New Cooper Hewitt

Jurors said: “The interactive exhibits at the Cooper-Hewitt museum engage visitors to see, think about, and experience the process of design by creating an immersive and seamless experience. The ability to create your own designs and save them along with other experiences is a lasting souvenir, and the immersion room in particular proves that the simplest of ideas can fill one with awe. The concept, development, and execution raise the bar for interpretive installations.”

Silver: Center for Civil and Human Rights

Binaural Lunch Counter Interactive

Jurors said: “The Binaural Lunch Counter Interactive is a powerful, thought provoking, and emotional experience which renders a new perspective in the sphere of museum installations. The inventive use of audio affects your entire body and especially your mind. This is an exhibit that truly leaves a lasting impression; an unforgettable experience.”

Bronze: College Football Hall of Fame

College Football Hall of Fame: All Access

Jurors said: “From the moment visitors step into the College Football Hall of Fame they are offered a unique, dynamic experience. Activities such as games and getting interviewed yourself by a news anchor add to the fun, and being able to take these experiences home results in a complete package.”

Honorable Mention: National Palace Museum

Children’s NPM Digital Playground

Jurors said: “The Children’s NPM Digital Playground exhibits offer a full range of interactive installations, from digital paintings, to floor-based educational installations, which are all aesthetically stunning. Visitors travel through time and space in a digitally mediated playground; a set of experiences appealing to kids of all ages.”

Honorable Mention: 9/11 Memorial Museum

Reflecting on 9/11 and Recording Studio

Jurors said: “Reflecting on 9/11 and Recording Studio is a powerful installation, bringing various perspectives on 9/11 to eye level. Providing a professional setting for visitors to be able to record their own responses contributes not only to the exhibit but becomes part of the oral history.”

Mobile Applications

Gold: Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Canadian Museum for Human Rights Mobile App

Jurors said: “This app is available for international, multiple devices, and disabled visitors. And the customized design is good for building individual experiences. An excellent example for museums to combine with so many forms of media. The application is well-suited for a variety of different users.”

Silver: Peabody Essex Museum

Turner’s Apothecary Mood-O-Meter

Jurors said: “This app helps visitors examine smaller intimate works that are hard to view in the visitor’s physical museum experience. It also provokes visitors’ curiosity to learn more throughout its Mood-O-Meter’s six quizzes. It helps visitors deeply observe and think about the related works. The design is a very good way to attract younger people to the application. Good job!”

Bronze: Museum Victoria and partners

Making Australian Field Guides Mobile

Jurors said: “This app provides fruitful digital achievement resources to support field trips at any time and any place, so visitors can experience the museum without a costly field trip to the city. The app also supports user learning in field trips in a very convenient and effective way.”

Multimedia Installations

Gold: The Costume Institute – The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Charles James: Beyond Fashion

Jurors said: “The beautiful, fine balance between aesthetics and technology and the foundation and trend shown in this project is truly pleasurable. With the extraordinary quality of aesthetics in its design and the futuristic technology, this installation brings excitement not only to museum professionals but also to the general public.”

Silver: Norsk Teknisk Museum

TING – Technology & Democracy

Jurors said: “The contrast between the virtual digital technologies and the physical textural components of this exhibition and the wood blocks is creative, and allows today’s visitors to enjoy a new kind of museum visit in the Digital Era, fully experiencing in the co-existence space of digital and analog. In the friendly and fresh exhibition design environment, visitors are learning by experiencing.”

Bronze: The Field Museum

Biomechanics Heat Theater

Jurors said: “This multimedia installation execution shows new experimental ways of dealing with multimedia installations compared to other projects existing today. For example, the shining color light from the installation is not only for the multimedia installation itself but influences other parts of the exhibition room. Bringing up new concepts should be appreciated as it requires more effort and courage to create what is new.”

Honorable Mention: 9/11 Memorial Museum

Listening Alcoves

Jurors said: “The social role of museums has been maximized through this project, especially, the use of ‘disturbing’ content, which shows the dedication of the museum to discuss the  9/11 tragedy based on the facts. Also, the voice-over of the video contains testimonies of the survivors or of the last phone messages from a victim in the airplane. This supports the real feeling of the tragedy.”

Online Presence

Gold: Bullock Texas State History Museum


Jurors said: “The vision to place people and their multitude of stores and voices at the heart of the online museum experience is the aspiration of many museums, but is it hard to achieve. The Bullock Museum’s website is rich with stories and there are many pathways through these stories and with other stories invited from the audience. The site is presented with a contemporary, responsive design; many interactive elements; and excellent navigation.”

Silver: Indianapolis Museum of Art

Indianapolis Museum of Art Online Collection

Jurors said: “The excellent interface and functionality allow someone to explore a huge collection without having to have any pre-knowledge of what’s in the collection. The search is powerful for both experts and novices. The image quality and deep zoom is wonderful and the onward journeys to other artworks ‘you may like’ works beautifully.”

Bronze: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra Vehicular Activity

Jurors said: “A fantastic example of an exhibition site effectively showcasing and engaging audiences with amazing content. The site very effectively brings together archival materials and personals experiences, and gives a valuable insight into conserving these unique objects. There are a number of delightful interactive features which add polish to the whole experience.”


Gold: Europeana Foundation

GLAMwiki Toolset

Jurors said: “Considering the GLAM scenario in the entire globe, the GLAMwiki Toolset will have a successful journey. The amount of crowd-sourced data collected is massive and shows a great digital experience,” and, “Anything that makes it easier for museums to spread their content further is a good thing!”

Silver: Wikimedia UK and the British Library

Mapping the Maps

Jurors said: “Love the fact that they backed this with stats and outcomes. Also impressive how many they managed to find and tag. The geo-referencing looks great as well,” and, “This seems to be a very focused approach and the people involved in this project have shown a great level of professional expertise.”

Bronze: Europeana Fashion

Fashion Edit-a-thons

Jurors said: “I feel the experience represents both human interaction and online experience, and the project as a whole looks quite impacting,” and, “This is an exciting project altogether from the heritage data point of view. Curating so much information will surely impact the museum field a lot.”

Public Outreach


Where Art Can Take You: Transforming SFMOMA

Jurors said: “The single-scroll micro site is very rich in wonderful video clips, graphics, and solid texts to keep visitors in touch while the museum is closed for renovations. The platform makes good use of social media to allow visitors to maintain a relationship with the closed venue while setting up a sense of anticipation in the audience as they hint at what they can expect once SFMOMA is re-opened.”

Silver: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Q?rius School Programs

Jurors said: “This outreach system allows students to invest in the contents of the museum intellectually and emotionally by following through with the activities. It provides educators with interesting and “fun” materials for their classes and the exercises promote development of a second-order understanding by asking students to “put themselves in the shoes” of the scientist doing fieldwork.”

Bronze: Ohio History Connection

Your Tax Return Can Make History

Jurors said: “Their 2015 campaign is designed to raise awareness of the History Fund, a competitive grant program funded entirely by donations made on Ohioans’ state tax returns in partnership with libraries to locate print materials with the libraries’ tax form displays.  Their site uses short movie clips as dramatic narrative elements in order to attract potential contributors. The campaign, with its farcical approach, is very creative.”

Video, Film and Computer Animation

Gold: Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

Design Dictionary

Jurors said: “A great demonstration of artisan and designer processes that is simple, informative, and well-designed as a web series. The producers’ decision to go into the studios of local designers makes the videos visually interesting. Graphics and call-outs allow the videos to be valuable in various user settings: during a visit at the museum, as well as through a series watched online. Knowing the limits of in-house productions with low to no budgets, this series is a laudable example of how to maximize the resources to achieve the highest value for viewers.”

Silver: The Field Museum

How We Learned to Fly like the Birds

Jurors said: “The Field Museum team managed to turn this content into a very enjoyable piece for audiences of all ages. The duration of the video is excellent. The animations are done well and are fun to watch. Great attention was paid to the sound design and this detail really brings this piece together for the viewer. It’s subtle and effective in integrating with the voice-over narration and conveying a fun and humorous tone.”

Bronze: J. Paul Getty Museum

The Making of a Roman Silver Cup

Jurors said: “The Getty’s video is a fantastic example of well-done interpretive media. In a very short amount of time, this video conveys messages about the intricacy and craftsmanship involved in creating silver objects like the one displayed. The 3D animation is especially well done in this video and illustrates extremely well the technical facts from the process. The renderings here were the best of all the entries, and the animation was used to great effect.”

Honorable Mention: National Museum in Warsaw

Faras 3D

Jurors said: “This project had high production values, a story well told without words, a reenactment seamlessly integrated with high quality animation to envision a world we could not see otherwise.”

Honorable Mention: Treblinka Museum

“Treblinka” – digital reconstruction of the camp

Jurors said: “This project was powerful, effective, and well done. These folks deserve an award for their work on this disturbing and haunting piece. It is hard not to take that subject matter home with you each night. It makes a lasting impression.”

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