Archive | November 2011

Google Indoor Maps – would it be useful for museums?

After talking a bit about map/floor plans for the museum, suddenly this came about. Is it a premonition? or do I work for Google? (No, I wish though)

Before you get too excited, like everything that Google does it always starts in US, so at the moment it is not yet available for other parts of the world. Would it ever be?  Google blog said this:

And this is just the start–we’ll continually add new indoor maps to public buildings across the world.

So, hopefully soon.

I think about all the museums I have been in, quite a few are housed in old buildings which has been modified or even was design to have different rooms, passages etc, almost like a labyrinth. I have heard staff would comment “This place is like rabbit warren, it is confusing so I better walk you through”. I have heard similar comments about going to IKEA “You are always lost in an IKEA, they make you go through everything just to find the pillow” and then another would say “ooh, but there is always a secret way in the middle where you can cut through”. So I think if IKEA is using it, museums could definitely make a use of it.

After all it adds having this floor plan will help with

  1. Increasing accessibility
  2. Perhaps cutting back the amount of printed maps = more considerate to the environment

I can see however, that it might scare some people off as it did with Google maps about privacy and security.  Also there are museums that are located in secluded areas or has underground galleries, so I wonder whether the app would work in these places. What do you think about this? What other use would this map have? Perhaps when planning an exhibition/events?


Digital Media Empowerment in Museums

This talk by Chris Bangle at one of Creative Morning London made me think about museums and audiences, and museum marketing professional and digital media.

He talked about empowerment, encouraging designers to allow development through empowering others. Not to just feed others with good design but allowing others to design. I think museums have been doing a lot of  this through engagements with their audiences; young people, families, etc

Projects for example allowing young people to choose objects for our exhibitions, arts project encouraging local community  and many more.

But then he talked about designers being the ELITE, that there is a sense of ELITIST that only those who have gone through a design degree could design, etc. That 2000 years ago only the elite could read and write, therefore only a few could access information.

The museums world used to be elitist, that only white, upper middle class, well-educated people dwell in this world. Not anymore of course, there are many programmes museums do to encourage diversity for example the Museum Association – Diversify; a programme that offers people from ethnic minorities, from less affluent backgrounds, or with disabilities bursaries to study museums studies, and other similar programmes run to encourage this empowerment.

Which are brilliant, and so much of what Chris Bangle said that the Museums world have commendably actually done in empowering others.

However, are we still Elitist in terms of knowledge, knowledge of the digital media specially? Looking through discussions about museums and digital media it has been the same people or people from the same area of work (marketing, audience development). Have we shared enough with others? Have we encouraged/empowered others in our museums to use digital media in their work? Have we shared our knowledge to other museums that has less, in terms of budget and time? After all, are we not in world of openness, where crowdsourcing, open-source is common? Why are we not treating this knowledge the same way?

How many of us could say honestly that the other teams in our museums or even the director understands about the importance and the workings of digital media? How many people in your museum knows about the wonderous Hootsuite or QR codes or PPC campaigns? Do you they need to know?

It would be good to know whether you are sharing with others in your museum. If you are how do you do it? I find it rather difficult as some people has the tendency to block off digital things because they think its to complicated. Do let me know by leaving a comment below.

What to wear to a Museum Exhibition

What to wear to a museum exhibition

On the subject of Contemporary Collecting, I thought this concept from ASOS could be used in a museum setting. Or perhaps they have? Do you know any museum that provides this? collections gathering to make some kind of a mood board?

I am sure you have all seen this, but if you have not, ladies, if you do want some inspiration on “what to wear to a Museum exhibition” have you seen this?

ASOS: What to Wear: Museum Exhibition  Although I am not really sure about the second row furthest to the right, selection of outfits, do you really need 4 sets of underwear and shoes to go to a museum exhibition? Or am I missing something?

I would really expect ASOS to team up with the Tate or V&A to publicise something.

Happy Weekend!

New Tate Souvenirs covered by Print &Pattern


I have been following Print & Pattern since  2007, absolutely love the blog. Even if you don’t know anything about illustration or design, you can’t not love this blog. It has been a source of a lot of ideas when I am producing marketing materials for the museums.

Here she blogs about new Tate Souvenir at Tate Modern.

Museum Maps or Floorplans

A Map Cover

The maps or some say floor-plans that museums produce of their building varies in size, depth and design.  Alice was planning her visit to V&A and downloaded a map of the V&A, she then ponders and asked these questions:

  1. Are these effective?
  2. Has anyone evaluate the use of their map?
  3. How important are they?
  4. Why printed? can’t they not be on a wall?
  5. Does it confused them more than it helped them to navigate themselves?
  6. Can it be functional but still looks nice?
  7. Does visitor actually use it? or do they tend to take it (specially when it is free) and not pay attention to it and wander?
  8. Should museum charge for it?
  9. Big museums with a labyrinth like space needs a map, but does a small museum necessarily need it?
  10. How many museum use apps for their maps?

And I could only say:

  1. I don’t know, we need to find out
  2. I don’t know any
  3. They are quite important because we want it to be easier for people to: a. navigate themselves, b. access the collection c.not get frustrated to try find something
  4. I think it would be better if you have both, printed and on a sign on a wall. But the nature of museums changes, specially those that have special exhibition, which means you need to change the sign on the wall. Naturally to change signage is more expensive and take more time to accomplish then to updating a printed map. However with the age of Apps, the changes could be made even faster.
  5. Again I don’t know, I did have to develop a few museum maps that received visitors feedback that it is not very useful, but it’s not really substantial prove.
  6. I think definitely! but being functional is still its main priority, with the objective of people are self-sufficiently navigating themselves around the museums
  7. A research would be great to answer all your questions Alice. My hypothesis is that people are different depending who they are, some would take the map and not pay attention to it and get lost, some just like to wander and explore without a map, etc
  8. I would say that if the museum itself is free to entry, yes they could charge for it. But if visitors are paying to enter I think then the museum should include the production of the map in the entrance free and not charge people extra for it.
  9. It would be great for even the smallest museum to have maps, because of the reasons in no.3, but if it is too expensive to produce and you do not want to charge for them, then why not create one online and tell visitor to download before their visit.
  10. Lets find out…

Do you ever think about your museum Map or Floor plan? or is this not important for you? Have you asked your visitor?

Curating Contemporary + Traditional Collection on blogs

Everyone is a curator now – there is a lot of debate on whether the word is properly used online, such as what Anne Kingston said:

The verb “curate” has become such an overworked—and distorted—marketing buzzword, it’s now in need of curation itself.

and Noah Briar said:

The newest one is curation. I’m a bit less sure about this, but I have a feeling that all these people throwing it around are using it incorrectly.

But I say, why not? why not let people curate what they want to ? to take care of what they like or to select what they like or have affinity to?

If we are worried about no one gate keeping the objects selected, or that people might forget those objects from the past, perhaps we should encourage the comparison of current object and museums object.

The idea came from one of design and fashion blogs, OhJOY, and the exhibition by Grayson Perry, where he curated British Museum’s object with his own artwork. Contemporary Collecting, which is what most design blogs are collecting and curating items that are interesting for them. I thought it would be interesting to do this with museum objects on this blog.

British Museum – Lyon, France, around AD 1630   Clock-watch with calendar and alarm by Jean Vallier

and Accessorize – UK,  November 2011, Grandfather Clock Collar – £15 .

Clock Watch from AD 1630

British Museum

And look at what is inside the clock.

Of course the watch from AD 1630 is beautiful and intricate. With images of Apollo and 9 Muses.

This watch, with its unusual case design, finely engraved decoration, striking, calendar and alarm, possibly represents the best that money could buy at the time.

Has the Film Already Started – Tate Britain

Has the Film Already Started?

      I am not quite sure about this exhibition. Is it an exhibition or installation? Because I think this installation is also called Has the Film already Started. It is slightly confusing where it begins and where it ends because of its layout. Perhaps intentional or perhaps I was not paying enough attention. This installation is quite cool though.

      • Favourite Object/installation: This picture
      • Favourite label: N/A
      • Object/installation I wished I thought of: This one by Cerith Wyn Evans
      • Other things I noticed: You can’t missed the gigantic horrible chandelier called “Witness” If you want to see it have a look at eightlondonShe has taken lovely images of the exhibition
      • Overall rating: 2 stripes – It is confusing but has several interesting objects

Reading the post by EightLondon who seems to be very knowledgeable about fashion and seeing Grayson Perry’s exhibition confirms an idea I have had  for awhile..

What about making a correlation between exhibition/ museum object to the objects and design exist in our current/ mass market life?

That is our discussion for the next update …

Our tendencies to make Right

It took me and Alice a while to digest this, but the concept of animating discussion and debate (not animated discussion) is really good. I agree with quite a few of his ideas, and some actually made me think.

To live differently involves to think differently, involve seeing the world and ourselves in a new perspective

Most of our behaviour including social interaction is as a result of us responding automatically to the world around us rather than the outcome of concious decision making

The argument

We are very bad at predicting what is going to make us happy and we are even bad to recognise what made us happy in the past

really struck me.

And the statement

Our tendencies to make RIGHT or TRUE that is which is merely FAMILIAR

and Wrong or FALSE that is which is only STRANGE

rings so true, and I feel that this is so apparent when you are managing change.

Am I being one of those Dodo’s that is easily led or so struck by new ideas? Ideas that might still develop in the future? Maybe, but I am definitely going to watch more of these videos.



Who does Professor Munakata look like?

When I was waiting for my slot to see the Grayson Perry exhibition I went to see a little display called Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure. Looks like a good Manga by  Hoshino Yukinobu, about the professor’s investigation of the missing stones of Stonehenge. It did make me want to buy the book.

And who are they pointing at? 😀

Professor Munakata pointing at somethingThompson and Thomson from Tintin


Kyoto International Manga Museum, Japan

The museum is smaller than I first thought. Even the map looks bigger than it is, and to me it is more a library than a museum.

Ticket= 800 yen =£6

It had most of the manga that has ever published in japan. It also has a room full of a sample of manga books that has been translated to different languages. Then in one of the room that is full ceiling to ceiling with mangas, there are panels explaining the history of manga, the process involved in producing and the life of a Mangaka.

The museum is situated in an ex school building, so the old headmaster (aka Kouchou) room is preserved for ex-students to visit. When I visited there was an activity called Kamishibai (a form of japanese storytelling). The storyteller wore a traditional dress and was very animated. The children seemed captivated – it is a shame that my Japanese is conversational.

The shop was small, but it had a few good English books on manga.

A little quirk about Japanese museums is they provide stamps, so that you can stamp your book to prove that you have been there.

  • Website: Japanese style website – I am surprise generally with Japanese website, their navigation and their design, seems to be lacking even though one would think that they are highly advanced in technology – am I missing something?? Anyone?
  • Printed materials: Map + brief description and  a separate sheet to explain a bit more, it seems that they also have a yearly pass. And they do however have a cute Icon character
  • Facilities: N/A – didn’t use any
  • Events and Activities: there is a colouring your own statue – I’m not sure where the link is really
  • Exhibition:N/A – doesn’t seem to have anything special
  • I wish: I can read Japanese and can spend more time reading the Manga
  • Audiences: a must for Otaku’s, but generally there other things you can visit in Kyoto
  • Overall the museum: gets 2 stripes – for good collection but not really telling much of a story.

Visited in 2010