Who’s Afraid of Modern Art?

"Who's afraid of modern art?“ – with this question, students begin their guided journey through the Städel Museum`s new online course. The oldest museum foundation in Germany is celebrating their 200th birthday by redefining their communication strategy to fit the digital age. Part of this change is the implementation of an online art history course and more recently a virtual reality tour of the museum in the 19th century. This course is an addition to the museum new offerings, like a digitorial, a digital catalogue that informs you about the current exhibition or an online audio tour.

AMT Lab contributor Seggen Mikael sat down with Chantal Eschenfelder, Head oft he Educational Department, and Axel Braun, Head of PR and Online Communication, to discuss the online course`s implementation and success, as well as the Städel Museum’s other offerings in their digital revolution.

The Role of Technology in Museums

With tools like beacons, iPads, touch screens, and haptic interfaces, technology provides museumgoers with detailed information, customized viewing experiences, and precise location mapping services. However, the use of digital technology in museums is often seen as a double-edged sword, which begs the question: does technology really belong in museums?

Supporting Multi-Touch Functions

Multi-touch technology may be easy to use, but how it works is far more complex. While several technologies support multi-touch functions, museums may find that certain ones suit an exhibition’s needs better than others. Choosing the right multi-touch platform is the first step in creating an interactive and personal experience for visitors. 

STEAM Learning at the Carnegie Science Center

Moving the conversation around public education from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) has long beleaguered arts managers and arts educators alike.  Defending the argument for arts programming and arts education can be difficult in the face of shrinking school budgets and a highly competitive grant environment.  Particularly in a country that increasingly favors the hard sciences above the humanities, cultural pursuits, and artistic studies.  Despite gains at the federal level with the new core arts standards, the STEAM caucus, and the first budget increase for the National Endowment for the Arts in years, it is still easy to feel defeated.  The question remains, what can arts leaders and community organizers do at the local level to push the conversation in a positive direction?

Redefining Boundaries at the Museum: Crowdsourced Exhibition at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History

Since December 19, 2014 the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History has featured an exhibit of works relating to the ocean, with painting and sculptures by established artists alongside works by local residents. The exhibit includes a wide variety of art, ranging from professional artists’ works to two year-olds’ drawings. Everybody’s Ocean is a partially crowd-sourced and partially curated exhibition presenting everyone’s personal relationship with the sea. 

How Museums Are Dealing With New Media Art: Part 2

In 2000 the Washington DC based Smithsonian American Museum of Art announced the creation of the New Media/New Century Award.  The New Media/New Century Award became one of first projects to support  new art created for the Web. The museum accepted proposals for original Web-based projects that explored the subject of American landscape, and how the new medium of Web art affected the American landscape as a subject. 

Though the project is over 10 years old, it demonstrates the early and exceptional sensibility of the Smithsonian’s curators. They understood the growing relevance new media art and especially Web-art, and its impact not only on people’s everyday perceptions, but also on the art scene as a whole.

Health, Happiness and the Hospital Hallway: An Interactive LED Installation

At Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, a children’s hospital, designer Jason Bruges has installed an interactive exhibit that is truly on a child’s level. Bruges embedded 70 LED panels comprised of 72,000 LED lights in the walls of a long hallway leading to an operating theater where young patients undergo anesthesia and then surgery. On the walls, Bruges applied custom-designed, graphic wallpaper. The display is called ‘Nature Trail’ and animates different scenes and animals from nature using light patterns.