AAM 2012 Final Thoughts



So the AAM conference has come and gone. The museums, science center, and cultural organizations of Minneapolis and St. Paul were gracious and wonderful hosts. Now that the dust has settled and we have recovered from the last of the all night parties, here are some observations in no particular order.

-          Walker Art Center with its Open Field Initiative – Awesome! Where else can I get a hula hoop and give it whirl at a moment’s notice on a sea of grass. A model for community engagement.

-          Art in science centers – a growing trend. And this is not just science based art but that certainly will be its major theme. Juried show opening at the NYSci upcoming

-          National Association for Museum Exhibition (N.A.M.E.) threw a great party at the Foshay Tower. Beautiful art deco space at the top and the most hidden with interesting museum at the top of the tower. Minneapolis style Empire State Building observation deck at the very top.

“Science centers are often scared to say what we must do concerning issues facing our planet, artists and art have no fear.”

-          Generational discussion continued at the conference it still feels that there are some tensions between Generation X and “grey beards” in the museum field or perhaps just miscommunication.

-          Speaking of generations it was great to see all of the students who came to the show. It’s nice to see that working in the museum field is of interest to so many.

-          The game experience theme is another experience thread weaving itself through a variety of medium. It may be a key way portables are used in museums. Shout out to Minnesota’s Historical Society’s “Reinventing the Field Trip for the 21st Century.”

-         The above  great quote (from hastily written notes) from Walter Staveloz of ASTC



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Gaming in the Museum

Gaming in the Museum Monday, the session titled Gaming: Creating Connections to the Collection offered some fascinating and intriguing in sights to the use of gaming to add an entire another dimension to the how to interact with the museum.

Primarily what was of interest was what is possible in the museum. The institutions that spoke were the Minnesota Historical Society, The Getty and the Smithsonian. Here are some high level observations that came out of this session:

  • Interactions within the game can include everything from scavenger hunts, performing for staff, to recording one’s impressions. There appears to be a wide range of possibilities of what can be included in the overall “storyline” of the game.
  • Games offer an engaging way for school trips to share a visit and for what happens in the museum to be brought back literally to the classroom and even the home – Requires portable technology (iOS devices the preferred choice due to open source software) which allows for the large variety of interactions. People, including kids are comfortable with it.
  • Gaming in the museum appears to point out, highlight or make apparent new needs and well as short comings in the wayfinding of an institution.

 It breaks down the traditional meaning making of the physical space.

  • Gaming also causes tensions within staffs at times between more traditional or comfortable ways of imaging how visitors should use the museum
  • 21st Century skills appear to be fostered through the use of gaming, skills such as stalking to strangers and teamwork that at times are hard at a singular exhibit in an exhibition
  • Kids like to record audio

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