„Visitor-Generated Content“: Reshaping the museum visit with mobile and participative Guiding-Technology


Kasra Seirafi, Austria

Museums want active and critical visitors. Visitors who focus on the exhibtion with their own minds, and who connect exhibits with their own lifes. Moreover, artworks & exhibits are not simply „given things“, but have to be meaningfully reconstructed by the viewer. Hence, museums have to provide an environment which not only „feeds“ visitors with information but enables them to engage in the active creation of meaning & perception.

Our presentation / paper will discuss the role of new guiding-technology (interactive hardware & apps on visitor tablets and smartphones), and how this technology may reshape museum visits & initiate a new paradigm of „visitor-generated-content“ environment (analogue to the „user-generated-content“ shift in the web).

We will present a specific technology we have developed during entrepreneur & scientific work („Fluxguide“) and we will show hands-on examples, best practices & experiences from museums all over the world, from Europe, US, South America, to Asia. We will critically analyze both opportunities & risks of guiding features like visitors comments, challenges, quizes, real-time-communication, personal favorite lists, treasure hunts, Facebook integration, and so forth.

After evaluating > 12 museum use cases, conducted by the authors, we will present lessons-learned and impliciations for the concept of visitor participation via new technologies in todays museums.

Involved museums:

Nasher Museum of Art (USA)
Virtuality Centre (Saudi Arabia)
Museos Banco Central (Costa Rica)
The Story of Berlin (Germany)
Tiroler Landesmuseen (Austria)
and many more...

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