Building a smart museum: tackling in-gallery challenges with digital experience at scale

Paper
Brian Dawson, Ingenium -- Canada's Museums of Science and Innovation, Canada, Darran Edmundson, EDM Studio Inc, Canada

Published paper: Building a smart museum: Tackling in-gallery challenges with digital experience at scale

Digital technology is becoming increasingly pervasive in gallery spaces, not just for science museums/centers, but for museums and galleries of all types. Museums are thus experiencing a range of new, common challenges, requiring approaches that can scale, to ensure long term sustainability. Museum applications can draw on robust Web standards and platforms for presentation, accessibility, data, etc. However, museum installations frequently go beyond a traditional Web page oriented paradigm. In-gallery applications of digital technology can vary widely, and range far beyond the computer/touch screen. They may include digital/mechanical interactives, experiential and immersive environments, and “headless” (non-screen) or other non-traditional interfaces. The Canada Science and Technology Museum reopened in November of 2017, after a complete reconstruction and reconceptualization of the exhibition experience. This presented an opportunity to tackle a number of contemporary museum challenges with digital technologies head-on, drawing on lessons learned from many institutions. This paper will outline many of these contemporary challenges for in-gallery digital interactives, exploring a number of facets, including hardware and software management; content management; analytics; deficiency/issue management; accessibility standards; design standards; systems and data Integration; and certainly not least, people. For each of these facets, this session will draw on experiences from the renewed Canada Science and Technology Museum to illustrate how these challenges can be tackled, and will also contrast these with alternate approaches taken at other institutions. It highlights how an enterprise IoT approach can help tackle the challenge of managing digital experience at scale.

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