Interactive experience

“Visitors are under no obligation to engage with free-choice exhibition enviroments…and yet, they do.” – T. Roppola

On Friday we have talked in the class about the “Contextual model of learning” by Falk and Dierking and how this models can influence the museum experience, more specifically how to properly understand museum from the point of view of the visitors. This model was developed in the year 1992 and long time has passed since then. Yet, I still believe that this model is not outdated and can be used.

I would like to use this model on a Museum of Selfies that I have presented in the last post and tried to apply this model to this museum. This post will be my thinking (writing) out loud. And more for me to try to understand the model properly  rather than for ‘knowledge-gain’ by my blog readers (fellow students).

Contextual model of learning consists of three categories: physical, social and personal.Physical context corresponds to the structure of exhibition, its architecture, selection and exhibition. It is build according to who is the exhibition for and who is the ideal visitor. I think this context is really important for the Museum of Selfies because the structure of exhibition and the exhibition itself must be very well thought through in order for visitors to take a lot of photogenic pictures with the work of art. The display style must be approachable and literally screams “take a picture with me”. Therefore, I believe that the physical context is almost the most important in this case because if the exhibition would not be convincing from this context, the motivation for visitors would decline and badly recieved.

“Design as an integral part of visitor experience, implications for structuring the nature of visitor experience – rather than simply providing a more or less attractive medium for presenting content” Macdonald, 2007

With the social context it really matters in what company are we visiting this museums with. Is it people who are against taking pictures with museums? Or people who want to take pictures of everything there is? I believe that the good company of ‘fellow photographers’ is very important while visiting this museum. Otherwise, the full experience of this museum will not be reached.

When speaking about personal context, we are speaking about the subjective knowledge and prejudice. Furthermore, about the motivations, expectations, interests and beliefs prior to the museum visit. Of course two people will never have the exactly same personal context. However, while visiting the Selfie Museum, I believe that people with instagram, sense of humour and good outfit might have the best experience.

I wrote this article as I was thinking that it will be interesting to see the model in a real life example and I would definitely want to see some of my fellow students try as well.

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The era of selfies

We have touched upon this topic in class many times but even if we didn’t, I think I would still chose this topic to write a blog post about. It is important to state in the beginning that I am a supporter of selfies and instagram so of course I stand behind the right to take pictures in museum. For me, taking pictures in the museum is part of the experience. Also, taking a unique photo makes the museum visit more personalized for me, furthermore it enhances the museum visit and makes it more memorable.

I have wanted to see the Kusama exhibition since September. However, my time schedule was very tight at that moment so I have postponed the visit. But when my roommate came and showed me her photos from the Kusama exhibition, I said I need to go and couldn’t wait any longer. Did the pictures of the exhibition and hashtag #kusama on instagram made me go to the exhibition more than the advertisment of Louisiana museum itself? YES! I mean, for the museums, it is a sort of free advertisment. Visitors come to the museum and later post pictures using many sorts of hashtag and then they add location. Other users like this which makes the pictures even more visible to the “people of internet”. This process leads for more people come to the museum and be more interested in the exhibitions. So is it really a bad things for museums to allow to take selfies? 

I think it is time for museums to accept the selfie era and embrace this time. Louisiana museum took this process part further and made their visitor’s picture feel appreciated by liking them in reward which creates a perfect interaction between the user and museum.

Speaking about the selfie era, in January 2014 museums started to encourage the project #museumselfie (Here are some pictures: http://www.theguardian.com/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/gallery/2014/jan/22/museum-selfie-day-in-pictures). This article described museumselfie day as “a Twitter project aimed at raising awareness of the great collections being housed by national and regional museums across the globe“. Honestly, as I said before, museum selfies is one of the of advertisment that museums can wish for. (Even make up companies send girls make up in exchange of posting pictures on their instagram so other girls will see the brand of make up and eventually end up going to drug store to buy that exact same make up because they have seen someone else use it only. Make up companies made in last year so much money of instagrammers so why can’t museums?)

Of course, some museums have taken the era of selfies to extreme level. Manila opened their first selfie museum called Art in Island. The whole museum is designed for users to take selfies in. To read more abou this museum, you can go for example to this link: https://www.good.is/articles/worlds-first-selfie-museum

My question is, are you pro or against the selfie culture in museums?

Museums without building

Building a culture, not a building.

In today’s age it is certainly possible to have a museum without the building of the museum. The question is where we should draw the line to where to call it a museum and where the term museum might be rather an overestimating term. One of the examples is a mobile museum where a museum is movable (RVs or buses) where the museums come to a person rather than vice versa. Furthermore, one of the examples might be also virtual museum. What about a museum that is not online or movable but has the exhibition but no building?

In this particular case, I will be speaking about the Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art (MOTHA). And yes, word hirstory (sometimes called herstory) is not misspelled. MOTHA might be (or is) definitely one of the museums with huge cultural impact. Only in United States 1 from300 people identify themself as transgender (whether drag queen, genderfluid, transvestite or transsexual). Which means that all around the world there are thousands of people that this museum would be relevant to. However, the only museum that deals with this kind of topic is the Transvestite Museum of Peru. Furthermore, according to the RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Raja Gemini, , drag is also a visual art which I could not agree more. So Transgender Hirstory and Art should without a doubt to have their own museum.

To know about the MOTHA museum, you can go see their pages (sfmotha.org). I can only guess that the sf in the url page means San Francisco. Because where else would this museum stand than in the original heart of transgender culture? At their pages, MOTHA describes itself as “the preeminent institution of its kind, the museum insists on an expansive and unstable definition of transgender, one that is able to encompass all trans and gender non-conformed art and artists. MOTHA is committed to developing a robust exhibition and programming schedule that will enrich the transgender mythos both by exhibiting works by living artists and by honoring the hiroes and transcestors who have come before.”

However, the problem is that MOTHA does not own any building. MOTHA comments on this fact at their pages: “Pending the construction of MOTHA, the museum will function as a series of autonomous off-site experiences in North America and throughout the world.”

My question is, where do we draw the line of what is a museum and what is just a “institution” owning the exhibitions? Is MOTHA a real museum? Does a museum have to have a building in order to become a museum? Or if MOTHA moves its exhibitions around the world, is it a type of mobile museum?

According to ICOM Code for Ethics for museum “The governing body should ensure adequate premises with a suitable environment for the museum to fulfil the basic functions defined in its mission. ” However, does this premises have to be one place or can it be multiple buildings throughout the world?