Posts Tagged ‘sjma’

San Jose Museum of Art Website

URLS: www.sanjosemuseumofart.org/interactive and

www.sanjosemuseumofart.org/podcast/aotw

Parts: XHTML and CSS Development, PHP Hacking, Cloud Computing, RSS Development

SJMA Interactive Landing Page

SJMA Interactive Landing Page

SJMA Artist of the Week Podcast Page

SJMA Artist of the Week Podcast Page

Summary: Adding a page to the San Jose Museum of Art website is no easy task. What was required to make the two pages above work was a lot of hacking of the PHP code and tweaks to the CSS file. It’s difficult trying to stay within the confines set up by the original developers of the site.

The first page is a page that was created for the main purpose of acting as a landing page to our digital content. The museum has been actively building a large archive of audio and video around exhibitions and artwork which we wanted to make available to the public. The videos are embedded around the site on the various exhibition pages so they can be difficult to find. By going to the Interactive page you can quickly access which exhibitions have media content available. Additionally the page has images culled from the SJMA Flickr group and various ways to access our content, i.e. iTunes, YouTube, Flickr and plain old RSS feed, as well as a description of our iPod Touch Tour.

The second page was created in conjunction with our Artist of the Week PodCast which we created in November and December of 2006 for the exhibition New Year, New Gifts. The exhibition drew from the museum’s permanent collection and featured a lot of work that had recently come in. For the podcast we selected 8 works in the exhibit and each week for 8 weeks we delivered a new episode showcasing the artist of one of those works. My colleague, Lucy Larson, and I were fortunate enough to win a 2007 MUSE Award for the museum in the area of Extended Experience. This page utilized the web service Odeo to allow us to embed the audio on the page.

iPod Touch Tour Update

iPod Touch Tour Home Screen

iPod Touch Tour Home Screen

It’s been a while since I posted about the iPod Touch/iPhone prototype tour that I was working on at the San Jose Museum of Art. The last time was in October of 2007. A lot has happened since then including the actual launch of the tour itself. We launched it in May of 2008 in conjunction with a tour we created for Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon. For the launch of the tour there were some preparations and changes.

One of the main focuses was to upgrade the wifi in the museum. We were operating with 2 networks. One was used by patrons of the cafe (which was pretty unreliable) and the other was used for exhibitions. For the upgrade we combined the two into one network and added two more access points using HP enterprise grade wireless routers.

The new set-up reaches most parts of the museum. There are a few spotty areas that we will need to focus on should we expand the use of handhelds into galleries other than our two main ones. Another issues that we’ve encountered is the lag time that occurs when you move from the gallery downstairs to the gallery upstairs. This causes a switch from one access point to another. The units pick up the new access point fine, but the lag time occurs when it switches to a different channel. It can take up to a minute for this to happen which you can image could frustrate a visitor. My request to Apple about how the iPod Touch handles channels was unfortunately not answered. Thankfully we have not had a lot of exhibitions where visitors move between access points.

Update: iPod Touch/iPhone Museum Tour from Chris Alexander on Vimeo.

When users select the Robots exhibition from the Exhibitions screen they are presented with a list of artists.

When users select the Robots exhibition from the Exhibitions screen they are presented with a list of artists.

One of the major changes that was made was to the user interface. Basically the tour is a web application similar to what you might see if you navigate to Facebook or Twitter on the iPhone. To construct it I spent a lot of time on the iphonewebdev Google Group reading threads about how to create web apps. One thing that I discovered was a javascript framework that a lot of people were using. The framework called iUI (iPhone User Interface) was developed by Joe Hewitt a developer for Facebook who was working on the iPhone version of the site. The framework mimics the page slide from side to side that the iPhone is so famous for. It also adds AJAX to the mix which helps to speed up the tour by loading only what is requested by the user and nothing extraneous. I downloaded the framework and tweaked the CSS file to make the screens that you currently see above in the video.

The artist page for this particular exhibition included a Curator's Video Label and an Artist's Video Label.

The artist page for this particular exhibition included a Curator's Video Label and an Artist's Video Label.

One other feature that I added was a feedback page.  It has not been very popular usage-wise.  There have only been about 30-40 forms collected and a lot of them are duplicate submissions.  The feature was added more as an experiment than anything else to see if it would be used and to learn from it.  I created the survey using a form creation website called Wufoo.  You can sign up on their website for a variety of different plans ranging from free to $199.99 dollars a month.  The service is great!  You sign-up, create a form and then you are given a snippet of code to embed the form on your site.  You can also adjust the appearance of the form through customized CSS.  While the form works effectively on the iPods, there are some issues with customizing the CSS for it.  There was another iPhone optimized solution that I came a month or two ago which I forgot to bookmark and I have been feverishly trying to find it again.  If I do find it I will post it here.

There are many other updates that I have been trying to experiment with. I will try and share my findings once I have implemented or tested.  I hope to make a post soon about WiFi delivery via web browser vs. locally stored data.

Road Trip Postcard/Promo Video

Our challenge for this project was to create a video that would both promote an exhibition that had little marketing budget and at the same time front load an interactive/interpretive component in the exhibition. For the exhibition we were featuring an area where visitors could read postcards from around the world. The postcards came from viewers of the video which instructed them to send a fun, quirky postcard from a road trip they might be taking.

After strategizing, the museum came to the conclusion to again utilize the YouTube platform. After much brainstorming and story boarding we came up with a concept video (shown above) of a person traveling to a bizarre roadside attraction (in this particular case a giant cement artichoke in Castroville). In the video you would never actually see the persons face, but you would see the events that led up to the attraction. One of the noticeable aspects of the video are a pair of high heeled stilettos that emerge from an opening car door. Additionally, the person would purchase a post card at the attraction, fill it our and send it. There would be no actual sound recorded by the camera. Instead there would be sounds that were found via sound effects websites.

Screen shot from California Camp Bug Blog

Screen shot from California Camp Bug Blog

The video was shot on an HD video camera in about a day’s time and then assembled back at the museum with Final Cut Express in about two days. Finding the right sounds for each of the scenes met with some challenges. Once completed, the video was uploaded to YouTube. To drive traffic to the video we contacted many travel blogs and asked them if they would showcase it.

The video is currently the most successful one on YouTube for the San Jose Museum of Art with over 80,000 views. It was posted at one point on the YT homepage as a “Featured Video” where it accumulated most of those views. We received over a hundred postcards from around the globe and the video has been featured on many blogs. There are around 55 comments about the video and we at one point had 8 video responses to it. The response to the video has inspired us to create a video serial around the shoes to promote other upcoming exhibitions.

Presentation: Santa Clara University

Presentation to a group of Museum Studies students at Santa Clara University. Talked about current SJMA practices for creating and delivering audio and video interpretation with a strong emphasis on cell phones and Guide by Cell. Students are working on interpretive materials for an upcoming Anderson Art Collection exhibition. Interpretation includes writing labels, writing bios and creating cell phone tour.


Links from the presentation:

Presentation: SJMA Board Retreat

On October 29, 2007 I was pleased to be asked by the museum to present to our Board of Directors about our technology programs and what possibilities existed in the future. The presentation was very well received and seemed to open a lot of eyes towards the potential uses of technology in the museum setting. One of the highlights of the talk was the a diagram that I showed about how the museum could have a central database for artwork which would be fed by everyone from the museum registrar, to curators, to outside art enthusiasts.