Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Mini Conference: Technology in Museums Notes and Resources

We had a wonderful group of participants and presenters at this fall's HME Mini Conference on Technology in Museums.

Below are notes are resources on each of the presentations.
Have notes or resources you'd like to share? You can comment on this post, or take the conversation over to HME's Facebook page!

Ryan Dodge (Digital Engagement Coordinator, Royal Ontario Museum) 

Digital Visitors are Visitors Too (extended slide presentation here)
How digital engagement impacts your museum's bottom line and the importance of engaging digital communities because they are potential visitors/members/advocates.

About Ryan
As the Royal Ontario Museum's (ROM) Digital Engagement Coordinator, my role is focused on digital content creation, campaign and community management, as well as building capacity within the institution.
Active in the global museum community, I have volunteered with the Canadian Museums Association's Young Canada Works in Heritage Project and sat on the board of ICOM Canada. Currently, I am also a member of the Virtual Museum of Canada, the Museum Computer Network's part-time Digital Content and Community Manager and a consultant with Cultural & Heritage organizations across North America.
You can get in touch with me on Twitter: @wrdodger

  • We Are Social
  • active users by social platform: FB, WhatsApp are biggest platforms
    majority of your users are female 26 - 44 (Millennial moms)
  • Google Analytics: Demographics
  • Need to know who our audience is and we don’t need to guess
  • ROM gets 3 million web visitors; 2.9 from Canada
  • Small fraction is international, most are from your own country, province, and city
  • Important that we’re doing right by our online visitors
  • 85% Canadian onTwitter, mostly female
  • 52% FB live within driving distance
  • Online visitors are actually visiting your museum
  • Instagram 25 - 34, mostly female
  • Content must be geared toward audience and specific app
  • When is your community looking at content? Morning, early afternoon and evening
  • Evenings closer to the weekend, family content is pushed at this time when they’re on the ROM’s page
  • FB is pay-to-play platform or beat the algorithm
  • Friday Night Live began with no marketing budget, relies on social media,get 60 000 visitors in the year
    social media savvy people and needed to be good
    lots of user-generated content at the event- got visitors to create content
    Museums need to acknowledge earned media
  • *People trust their networks more than they trust us
  • *People want to see what they’re going to get
  • Get a positive, word-of-mouth review its better than any advertising
  • Trip Advisor offers free training, badges for your doors, etc.
  • The ROM aims to deliver high impact content that is multi platform, relevant, community and data driven (ROM’s content strategy)
  • Basing all decisions on data
  • Online presence should be emotional, deeper; push it farther than repurposing marketing material on social media
  • ROM decided to not be afraid of “ruffling feathers” topics that people are concerned about and link it to our collection
  • resources are scarce
  • how can we ignite emotions and encourage people to share it
  • Ie: destruction of historical objects in the Middle East; use image to condemn destruction of artifacts: mad at the situation, not us
  • we should inspire wonder in people on a regular basis, blow people’s minds
  • ROM put out a selfie guide in response to Russia’s selfie guide
  • Provide practical information: why so many ladybugs?
  • Quick videos of things people may not see in every day life, but are very share-able and get attention: leech!
  • How many staff do you have assigned to social media? 2 full time
  • Leveraging the Power of Social Media in Museums
  • ROM does monthly training workshops in social media
  • We allow staff to contribute; more valuable when it comes from a person rather than the official ROM account
  • 9-5 doesn’t apply to social media staff; flexible time schedules so they can be on when they need to be; 2 days on, 2 days off schedule to cover weekends
  • Staff reliance on social media must be trusted but they must also be trained. 3 staff have administrative access
  • Running everything through personal accounts, repurposing on ROM accounts

Colleen Dilenschneider Twitter
Dodge Vernon Media

Dr. Amy Hetherington 
101 Ways to Do It Right (and 1001 ways to do it wrong)
Technology can be a huge boon for heritage sites, but it can also be fraught with problems. Considering the expenditure and resources, museums and galleries can’t really afford to get it wrong. But what are the right ways (and what are the pitfalls to avoid)? How can your small institution implement new technologies to engage your visitors in an entertaining, but more importantly – educational – way? This presentation will focus on smaller institutions that often struggle the most with this issue, and show some of the ways digital can be adapted to support educational programming.

About Amy
My PhD was focused on the problems museums face when they take a ‘but visitors want digital!’ approach. I work as a museum consultant who specializes in social media and audience engagement, and I am also co-director of a digital media design company, Surface Impression, that works exclusively with cultural organisations and institutions to design media that is engaging, simple, and informative for visitors.

  • Brooklyn Museum NY
    more access to info, uses iBeacon’s throughout the gallery to virtually connect and chat about the works of art; talking to staff experts on the spot
    this is a huge project
    biggest problem is the ibeacons get stuck, basic problem to replace glue on the
  • AGO
    Impossible Things AR experience
    Does it make viewers spend more time looking at paintings?
  • British Museum partnership with Samsung
    School-based technology courses for different ages and subject matters
    Explore galleries to collect sound and vision to create presentations; digital skills and presentation skills developed
  • A Dose of Reality
    you need a techy person even just someone willing to learn
    don’t rely on your summer students and interns, find a permanent staff member
    sustainability is key: tech is always changing
    buy-in from Board and upper admin; need to convince them of sustainability and value
  • Dundas Museum and Archives
    developed a grade 8 program using iPad technology based on Rebellion of 1837
    examine artifacts and data Museum has
    technology, investigation, critical thinking, and history curriculum
  • Oakville Museum
    Julian Kingston’s digital tech
    360 panning images using Google technology, open source, created a tour of the interior of the museum
    simple technology
    Trnio iPhone app, allows 3D pictures of an object to be used with 3D printing, or better view of images online
  • Brant Historical Society
    website to download podcasts about subjects they’re experts at
    listen at your own time, not dependent on museum hours or physical visit
    use for teacher’s ahead of school visits
  • As visitors/audience what they want
  • Should provide broader access to collections and information
  • Innovative way to interpret collections, how can people learn more about it
  • 21st century learning ecology; how to help children learn digital skills
  • Overcome access and learning issues

Amy Hetherington's website


Karin Davidson-Taylor (Education Officer, Royal Botanical Gardens)
Reaching Beyond the Museum Walls
RBG has used videoconferencing technology to reach beyond the typical local field trip radius to audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Karin will demonstrate how easy it is to connect to a site and how you can use this technology to offer engaging interactive programs to distant visitors with the help of Megan McLauchlin at Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta.

About Karin
Karin Davidson-Taylor is an Education Officer at Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) in Burlington, Ontario, Canada. She has a BSc, Honours Zoology from the University of Guelph and received her Education degree from Brock University. Karin joined RBG in 2006, coming with 17 years’ experience teaching both adults and children. She presents interactive and engaging environmental education programs to children (curriculum-linked) and adults via videoconference. She has been responsible for establishing RBG as a Canadian leader in the world of interactive videoconference-based virtual field trips. Apart from delivering onsite programs, Karin develops and delivers engaging award-winning distance education programs across Canada and around the world, promoting awareness of our connection to plants and the importance of biodiversity. Teachers are encouraged to explore their local area after the interaction to enable authentic learning opportunities.

Karin (RBG) and Megan (Royal Tyrell)
Sheffield Museum
Marty Pullin

  • Consider using Zoom as a conferencing platform
  • Skype in the Classroom (part of Microsoft); need to be sustainable because it’s a global interface, but can be targetted to a local audience
  • Use 4G iPad to get around using wireless

Distance Learning at Royal Tyrell


Liza Barney (Science Educator, Bird Studies Canada)
Connecting students to birds and nature…with technology?
Technology has opened up many new opportunities to experiencing and exploring the natural world. Using birds as an example, this presentation shares how Bird Studies Canada uses various e-tools to engage students and youth in birds, science and conservation.

About Liza
Liza coordinates the Bird Education program through Bird Studies Canada. A dabbler in all things science and nature, she is keen to connect youth to the natural world through birds. Combining her M.Sc. and B.Ed. with a passion for environmental education, Liza engages students in Citizen Science to build important ecological literacy skills, and strives to provide meaningful opportunities for stewardship and conservation.

Liza Barney Twitter
Project Feederwatch


Meredith Leonard (Education and Community Coordinator, Halton Heritage Services) and
Julie Sutton-Yardley (Heritage Network Coordinator, Halton Heritage Services)
Getting Technical with Topical Challenges Unconference
Technology offers incredible opportunities for museums, but also poses substantial challenges. Work through some of the challenges at your institution with Halton Heritage Services staff in an “un-conference” session inspired by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History’s Museum Camp!
Presenters will facilitate a participant-driven discussion that will provide opportunities for sharing, questioning, brainstorming ideas, possible solutions and success stories. Prompts and facilitated discussion tools will be incorporated at the beginning of the session to encourage conversation, discussion and input from the delegates. Participants should come prepared with their questions, ideas for collaboration and success stories to share.

About Julie
Julie has an extensive background in tourism & hospitality. She is currently the Heritage Network Coordinator for Halton Region - Heritage Services. Julie has operated her own strategic marketing business, following positions that included Director of Sales and Marketing for Delta, Starwood and Hilton Hotel brands throughout the GTA. She has frequently volunteered as an advisor with the Canadian Executive Services Organization (CESO) consulting in Eastern Europe, South America and Northern Quebec First Nations community.
A graduate of the Travel & Tourism program at Centennial College, Julie currently is on the Board for Skål International Toronto North and has held previous Board positions with Tourism Burlington. She has served on many committees including Tourism Hamilton Awards, the Travel Media Association of Canada and MPI. Julie has been able to combine experience in event management, tourism, hospitality, heritage & culture from both the public and private sectors. Currently Vice Chair of Regional Tourism Association #3, Julie will be taking on the role of Chair in 2018.

About Meredith
Meredith Leonard is currently the Education and Community Coordinator at Halton Heritage Services. A certified teacher with more than ten years of experience in the heritage field, she previously served as Education and Community Relations Officer at Museum of Ontario Archaeology, Curator for Marketing, Programming and Exhibitions at Fort Erie Museum Services and Visitor Services Coordinator at the St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre. Meredith holds an Hons. BA in History and Political Science from McMaster University, a Master of Museum Studies degree from the University of Toronto and a Master of Science in Adolescence Education from D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York. She served as a course director for the Ontario Museum Association’s Certificate in Museum Studies program, is currently a board member at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre and was selected as a 2015 fellow in the Getty Leadership Institute’s NextGen Program.

Digital Tools for Museum Education

  • Many of our group members work for municipalities and as such, we have certain restrictions on our use of digital tools, notably social media
  • Few of us have large/any budget for social media, with most digital tools having to go through municipal IT departments
  • Other challenges include lack of buy in from management (often at the municipal, rather than institutional level), issues with wifi and even cell service in remote and rural locations, ‘corporate restraint’, IT budgets, hardware/software challenges
  • Social media solutions: if you have little or no control over your own social media, partnerships can be a good solution, as event or program partners can leverage their social media for promotion. Examples include the craft show at Steam Museum and Doors Open in Halton Region. Balls Falls has partnered with Bird Studies Canada, Invasive Species to expand their digital footprint.
  • Use of video – Steam Museum’s museum dance off entry was very successful, had educational content. 
  • Social media is necessary to do what we do (visitor engagement!) – ask visitors, especially teachers, to tweet their visit, tag the site, city accounts  free advertising, plus brings organization’s attention to the public using and interacting on social media.
  • Using social media as a program component – literacy element
  • Ruthven created a social media scavenger hunt for their Family Day programming
  • Can be helpful to establish a # for your events/exhibits
  • Collecting data (Google analytics) is valuable to make the case for change
  • Digital tools and resources for museum education, in addition to social media platforms:
  • izi.travel – free app to create walking tours
  • History Pin 
  • Geocaching – option for a digital and physical presence
  • Google Drive – popular with teachers, useful for interfacing and sharing resources with educators
  • Google Cultural Institute
  • American Association of Children’s Museums offers several low-cost webinars related to using digital resources [also American Alliance of Museums]
  • AAM Trendswatch Reports – ‘Museum 2040’ publication available free for download
  • Podcasts
  • Virtual Museum of Canada
  • Wikipedia – ensure your entry is up to date, edit/add to pages on local history topics
  • Virtual Reality – Museum of Ontario Archaeology example
  • Digital mapping – Google maps, Google Fusion Tables
  • Trinio – 3D photography
  • Meta VR Canada
  • British Museum Samsung Digital Discovery Centre
  • Smithsonian Learning Lab

Padlet: Madeline Smolarz's padlet listing many of the resources we shared during the Unconference (check this resource quick, it will come down after December 2017!)
Planoly: Visual planning and marketing solution
Gameify anything with Kahoot! and Nearpod
Canva: easily design social media images with templates
Digital Engagement Framework: uses collaborative worksheets. Plan out your digital programming strategy on paper
Prezi: Presentation software
Audacity: open-source audio editing software
Microsoft Sway: update to powerpoint
Hootsuite: Social media management
PicMonkey: photo editor
Word Swag: app for generating text for photos
Zapir: makes it easy to automate tasks between web apps
Voices.com: Find voice actors
Trello: keeps track of everything, from the big picture to the minute details
Slack: Team messaging
Thunderclap: synchronizes your message so it rises above the noise
IFTTT: the easy, free way to get your apps and devices working together

Dave Potts (MEd BEd BA, Instructional Design Technologist, Faculty of Education
Instructor - Educational Technology, Department of Teacher Education
Brock University, Faculty of Education)
Collaborative Learning
The focus of Dave's session is questioning some traditional means of using technology in education, challenging the use of technology for the sake of technology. Instead, Dave will share concrete, real-world examples of how he and others have implemented technology to enhance the student's learning experience, with the aim of equipping others educator's with new approaches to the incorporation of technology in their own classrooms.

About Dave
Instructional Design Technologist for the Faculty of Education, Brock University. Dave has been collaborating with K-12 and Higher Education for a decade, supporting the design and implementation of educational technologies in a variety of learning situations, in his own classes and in others. Dave's focus is on Digital Pedagogy, moving well beyond the "hows" and looking deeper into "why," he is focused on using technology appropriately to enhance the achievement of learning outcomes.


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