Notes from NEMA iPad/Museum session

Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Featured Posts, TechMuse Blog, Technology and Museums | 0 comments

Happy to hear our session on iPads was helpful, and thought I’d jot a few followup notes after the session.  (Session chairs: Kathy Burton Jones and Robert Wolterstorff.  Panelists: Paula Rais/Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, Viktorya Vilk/Clark Art Institute, Laurie Glover/Clark Art Institute, and myself).


  • Think “tablet” rather than necessarily “iPad”.  Clark is using Galaxy 10″ Android tablets rather than iPads for their exhibit application because having to go through iTunes store for an iPad app is unwieldy.
  • Clark is finding that larger tablets (rather than smaller mobile phones) have some advantages:  larger format is easier for older audiences to read and more enjoyable.  It is also more social (people gather around it).
  • iPad enclosure: Portland Museum of Art uses the “full metal jacket“, others are available
  • PEM uses the Kiosk Pro app in exhibits to lock down iPad software
  • Children’s Museum of Houston has an IMLS grant initiative to explore existing (inexpensive) uses of iPads by interpretive staff in exhibits
  • Nice to see how Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has their eye on a larger public mission with their app for families affected by autism. Eager to see this when it’s available.
  • My top recommendation for museums with a low budget: Develop your website using WordPress as the base, and a “responsive design” theme.  It will look good on Web, tablet, and mobile phone without having to develop multiple versions.  (I use Elegant Themes “Evolution” theme on my website, others are available and inexpensive).
  • Keep an eye on HTML5 web applications (rather than machine native applications)
  • I’m interested to get my hands on a Microsoft Surface tablet running Windows 8 for exhibit uses. Basically a Windows machine that can uses any of the traditional authoring tools.
  • Questions to consider: Does the app encourage communication in exhibits? Can it be shared and promoted with institutions outside the Museum?  Does it allow easy sharing on visitors’ social networks?

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