SCFM Museums and Technology Workshop

Written by on November 26th 2014.

    South Carolina Federation of Museums presented its first workshop of the fall this November which focused on the relationship between museums and technology. The workshop was held in the Thomas Cooper Library’s Digital Media Computer Lab Classroom at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina. The day began with participants breaking into groups and using whiteboard charts to make bulleted lists of what forms of technology and social media were currently being used at their institutions while also listing what forms of technology that they would like to implement in the future as a springboard for a discussion on what technology is and how South Carolina museums are utilizing technology in the museum. The workshop was centered on trying to answer the question “What is technology and is it useful for museums”?

    Workshop facilitator Porchia Moore provided a framework for helping museum professionals understand their motives for employing technology, made suggestions on how to choose the most appropriate low-budget/big impact technological advances for a museum, explained some nuances of various types of technology and showed several short clips and introduced both local and national examples of technology in use at the museum. She also explored the quandary of more familiar technology such as QR Codes. Other examples of technology were explored such as the use of QR Codes at the Brooklyn Museum, how to create and make your own free augmented reality app, the importance of creating a digital toolkit and useful tools such as History Pin and SCVNGER to name a few.

    After breaking for lunch co-facilitator, Travis Wagner, led the hands-on portion of the workshop which included a fun, interactive exploration of the free downloadable software, 123DCatch. 123D Catch is a free app that lets you create 3D scans of virtually any object. Participants had the opportunity to choose objects from a table at the front of the computer lab in which to scan using their smart phones (as they downloaded the apps on their phones at the beginning of the workshop). Wagner explained how this free, easy, and fun technology was a useful way in which to scan objects from a museum’s collection to digitize and make available online. Museums can benefit from this technology because the app is free and is a fun way to make objects accessible to visitors via their website and social media platforms just to name a few examples.

    The day closed with a lively discussion on the various forms of social media platforms, how to choose the best platform for your various demographics, tips on how to maximize the efficiency of a museum’s social media platforms, and exploring nuances of the major platforms. In addition, participants were provided with copies of the most recent Horizon Report: Museum Edition which is a great guide to the trends in museum technology. We were delighted to have doctoral student, Liz Hartnett join us mid-day to introduce the power of Maker Spaces. Hartnett explained what Maker Spaces are, how museums and libraries are using Maker Spaces and the technology associated with Maker Spaces to help enrich the visitor experience.


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