Same Show, Different Channels: Putting Voice Into Action Across Museums

Christine Murray, Antenna International, USA, Nina Callaway, Antenna International, USA, Jenna Madison, MoMA, USA, Erin Fleming, SFMOMA, USA

You might think that two museums who collaborated on the same exhibition, focusing on the same artist and partnering with the same creative team would end up with nearly identical audio tours for their visitors. Yet even though SFMOMA and MoMA are both large modern art museums, their audio guides each have a unique and distinctive point of view. The ways stories are told significantly reflect the culture that tells them.

This professional forum will bring together the interpretive specialists from MoMA and SFMOMA and their creative partners from Antenna International to discuss the unique interpretive strategies each institution employed for two recent artist retrospectives: Bruce Conner: It’s All True (2016) and Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends/Erasing the Rules (2017). The museums partnered to co-curate and present these exhibitions, but the audio interpretation was developed separately by each institution.

We’ll begin by discussing the differences in the individual tours, then tie those results back to how each institution defines their audiences and creative strategies. We will ask hard questions about curatorial input, interpretive assumptions, storytelling techniques, and strategies for visitor engagement. We’ll delve into the nitty gritty details about how the creative processes unfolded at each institution, and wrap up with a look at how audiences responded.

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