Virtual exhibits should be social spaces that give visitors control over who they engage with, how they engage, and how much they engage. In this blog post, explore how to use the scholarship on social interaction design for virtual worlds to build virtual exhibits that connect visitors to each other and museum content.
Let's imagine we’re building a virtual exhibit around The Smithsonian’s History of American in 101 Objects by Richard Kurin. How might we do it?
I reached out to a bunch of talented museum professionals and asked them to tell me about their favorite virtual experiences of the year. Here's what they said...
Adam Koszary, the social media editor at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, observed, “museums have become used to being masters of their own spaces, but on the internet we need to embrace the fact that we are one voice among many." Virtual exhibits should invite visitors to create new content and share their creations with other visitors. It makes exhibits more engaging and helps visitors connect to the content.
Personalized experiences empower visitors to sort through content and to select opportunities to interact with other visitors, allowing each visitor to focus on what they find meaningful and exciting.
As an exhibit developer, my job is to create exhibits that engage visitors. In order to effectively do my job, I need to know who my visitors are. Unfortunately, few museums understand their in-person audiences and even fewer institutions profile their virtual visitors.
There's a lot of buzz about "virtual exhibits," but few museum practitioners agree on the definition of a "virtual exhibit." What makes them different from a website? Or, from a collections database? Do these distinctions even matter? This post is the second in a series on virtual exhibits.