Services Examination: Panospin360

January 28, 2021

When I attended the New England Museum Association (NEMA) virtual conference a couple of months ago, I was introduced to Panospin360 in the Exhibit Hall. According to their website, Panospin360 is a full-service photography studio specializing in 360° Virtual Tour Photography, and they serve the United States and Canada. They help convey the look and feel of businesses through quality photography, expert programming, and years of experience.

I made notes as well as participated in discussions on Twitter during Panospin360’s Exhibit Hall demonstration to learn about their services and share my thoughts. During the live demonstration, they shared benefits for creating a virtual tour including it could help convert website visitors to in-person visitors, and it could help boost the site’s search engine ranking.

Some of the features that were shown in the live demonstration include embedding videos right into existing monitors in the virtual tour, and provide a link to connect to online shop within virtual tour.

The live demonstration also shared various examples of virtual tours they have created included a bike shop, real estate agency, and the Harvard Club of Boston.

            Panospin360 offers a few options for virtual reality. The options they have are premium tours, Google tours, and Matterport tours. Premium tours are Panospin360’s high-end tours that display quality photography and are customized with descriptions; according to their website, they create views of multiple locations which are then linked together to display beautiful and informative visual representation of businesses or location, and the finished product can be embedded directly on the website for visitors. The other options are Google and Matterport tours. Google tours are more suitable for smaller businesses and budgets, and Matterport tours is specifically for the real estate market.

           If you would like to learn more about Panospin360, and are considering developing virtual tours, I included a link to their website below.

https://www.panospin360.com/

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Services Examination: Curious Experience Design

August 27, 2020

Earlier today I came across a group on LinkedIn promoting Curious Experience Design and I decided to take a closer look at their website to see what it is. It has been a while since I released a post examining services and websites geared towards museums, therefore I thought that I would find out what this was about. Curious Experience Design, according to their site and social media pages, designs immersive experiences that enliven the mundane and invite participants to get curious. On their website, they revealed that they not only provide services for museums, but they also worked on projects for festival entertainment, birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, concerts, open houses, corporate events, team building, brand activation, library programs, college events, prom after-parties, and more.

Their site also described what they designed within their site and in their portfolios they shared on the site. According to the site, they design multimedia games, immersive events, and education programs. They believe that at the core the art of game design is a process of designing experiences and the media is only a tool to create an engaging game experience. Also, I liked that they stated “You don’t need the flashiest technology to impress” because each museum has the opportunity to provide engaging interactive games/exhibits and education programs; while museums have varying budgets to spend on exhibits and programs, there are opportunities to create engaging ones with the resources they have to implement. For the immersive events, they blended live-action role playing and immersive theater, and encouraged participants to wear costumes and become characters themselves.

In addition to multimedia games and immersive events, they also developed educational programs for museums and classrooms between primary school and college. They expressed their belief that learning should be fun since learners can be motivated to engage with subjects being taught by creating compelling stories and challenging players through exploratory play. There are museums, including ones I have previously worked for, that are working towards incorporating more storytelling and interaction to help students in education programs not only take away the important lessons but also gain memorable experiences from. The examples of projects they have worked on were shared on their website in the portfolio section.

One of the projects they worked on took place at the Bostonian Society in which they created an immersive game. According to the portfolio, the educational immersive game was designed to put players into the events that let to the American Revolution on the exact locations the events took place. Inside the portfolio, they stated

Participants were assigned to use a guidebook to locate interpreters on the streets of downtown Boston. Once located, the interpreters, playing 18th-century characters, drew the players into the political intrigues of 1765 with riddles, ciphers and secret plots. Players undertook a series of challenges, culminating in a participatory reenactment of a colonial protest march through the modern, urban streets.

I appreciate that in this program that the participants were able to be in the same locations where the events took place because it would help them become more engaged with the history if they were able to either be in the locations physically or in simulated locations.

If you are curious to learn more, visit their website I have included below.

Links:

https://www.curiousxp.com/

https://www.curiousxp.com/blog/echoes-of-the-past

Services Examination: Lucidea

January 30, 2020

As I was catching up on the latest #MuseumEdChat conversation on Twitter, I came across a tweet from a collections management software company called Lucidea. They shared a blog post on museum funding and what phrases should not be used, and I decided to take a closer look at what Lucidea offers. I decided to take a closer look at this service to find out more about it. At first glance, I saw that they offer a lot of options for varying organizations not just museums. I really appreciate there is a lot of support in learning how each system works through talking directly with experts and webinars. It is worth looking into if you are searching for a collections management software for your museum or organization. The following information is what I learned about Lucidea and the opportunities they offer.

According to their website, Lucidea provides products that help clients redefine how knowledge is shared with applications and business process expertise empowering organizations to easily collect, organize, and leverage important knowledge assets.  They also stated that

Everything we offer our clients embodies one or more of the following: access; discovery; independence; integration; security, or partnership. Results for our clients include higher employee productivity, lower operational costs and increased customer satisfaction.

Their software solutions help make it easy to collect, organize and exchange information through one venue, from anywhere, at any time. Lucidea offers five systems that would appeal to the needs of varying organizations with varying options to choose from within each system: Integrated Library Systems, Knowledge Management Systems, Museum Collections Management Software, Archives Collections Management Software, and Digital Resource Management.

The Integrated Library Systems has innovative applications for libraries, with integrated access, purpose-built workflows and immediate return on investment (ROI). Also, their integrated library systems for libraries large and small offer innovations in web-based technology and integration, powerful information access and discovery capabilities, as well as unprecedented flexibility and independence with exceptional value. Lucidea offers two solutions in the Integrated Library Systems called SydneyEnterprise and GeniePlus. The difference between the two solutions is that SydneyEnterprise is built for large, multinational or multi-branch libraries and GeniePlus has the Integrated Libraries Systems essentials for agile libraries.

The Knowledge Management Systems is designed to unlock knowledge silos and make information assets searchable, social, and available anywhere, any time. Lucidea’s applications in the Knowledge Management Systems provide a single authoritative venue for managing, finding and sharing knowledge no matter where it resides, and users can instantly connect people with information to spend less time searching and more time engaging with knowledge. Unlike the Integrated Library Systems, there are three solutions available for this system new users can choose from which are Presto (with web-based and social knowledge management), DB/TextWorks (flexible text base knowledge management), and LawPort (law firm knowledge management, legal portals and intranets).

Meanwhile, the Museum Collections Management Software is designed for museums and galleries, large or small, and offers comprehensive collections management tools which takes users further with community curation/co-curation, a dynamic online presence, full multimedia support, and streamlined workflows. The solution available from the Museum Collections Management Software is called Argus which according to their website is built to enhance curation, and to significantly expand outreach and access via the Web, enriching the experience for both in-person and virtual visitors. Argus is a fully web-based that enables you to easily offer public portal access to objects and exhibits and to provide more in-depth documentation about each artifact as well as delivering content in context.

Archives Collections Management Software, like the Museum Collections Management Software, helps connect researchers and visitors with materials and memories preserved. This software is built for archives large or small, and it is flexible, extensible, and always up-to-date. There are three solutions for this software called the CuadraSTAR SKCA (for integrated and efficient archives), Eloquent Archives (for public-facing and dynamic archives), and ArchivEra (for larger innovative archives).

The last one is the Digital Resource Management which is a system designed to efficiently manage online resource portfolio and support evidence-based decision making. Also, users can track usage patterns, expose content gaps, justify resource expenditures, and make evidence-based decisions. The DRM also has two solutions: the LookUp Precision (designed for online resource administrators) and Eloquent Records Management (designed for records managers).

If you would like to learn more, I included the link to the website below.

https://lucidea.com/

Why IMLS Investment in Professional Development is Significant

January 23, 2020

Last week the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS) made an announcement about additional funding dedicated to professional development for museum professionals. I emphasized in each blog post I wrote about professional development programs I participated in on how significant they are, especially for museum professionals. The recent news from IMLS explained what the additional funding would mean for museums and museum professionals. According to their website, when the Fiscal Year 2020 was passed on December 20, 2019 IMLS was allocated an additional $3 million through the largest program Museums for America and plans to invest this additional funding towards improving the recruitment, preparation, and professional development of museum professionals.

Museums for America is a program that supports projects to strengthen the ability of an individual museum to serve its public. This program has three categories: Lifelong Learning, Community Anchors and Catalysts, and Collections Stewardship and Public Access.

What does this mean for museum professionals? We would be able to develop our skills to improve the quality of our field and of our work with the public. I hope that with this funding it will help support improvements on onboarding, recruiting, training, and creating a healthy workplace. There is a lot of progress on making museums a better place to work but we do have a long way to go. Recent news about the former executive who worked at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the sexual harassment complaints against him is an example of what museum professionals face in the workplace (see the links below on the coverage from the Philadelphia Inquirer). While we are working to make up for ill treatment within the museum workplace, we need to work on the source of the problems and hopefully more museums will be able to access museum professional development opportunities IMLS has to offer.

On their website, they stated the $3 million will be channeled through two special funding opportunities under Museums for America called Museums Empowered, Grants for Professional Development and Inspire! Grants for Small Museums. Museums Empowered allows museums to use the funds in four specific professional development categories: improving organizational effectiveness, evaluation practices, digital stewardship, and diversity and inclusion. Inspire! Grants for Small Museums is a program that supports small museums’ capacity building efforts related to collections, learning, and community at their institutions. The IMLS also included highlights of how professional development offerings make an impact on museums and museum professionals:

National Leadership Grants for Museums, realigned in 2018, now offers dedicated project categories for professional development and diversity and inclusion that allow museum associations, universities, and other non-profits to seek funding that can amplify collaborations, offer training, and develop tools and promising practices for the entire sector.

• The Museums for America, African American History and Culture, and Native American and Native Hawaiian grant programs continue to offer individual museums and tribes support for leadership development and diversity, equity, and inclusion work, as well as building a pipeline of new professionals.

• The Museum Assessment Program and Collections Assessment for Preservation program cooperative agreements with the American Alliance of Museums and Foundation for Advancement in Conservation continue to provide much needed technical assistance and capacity building help to smaller museums.

To check out more information about IMLS and the programs it offers, visit their website: www.imls.gov.

Links:

https://www.imls.gov/news/imls-invest-3-million-professional-development-capacity-building-across-museum-sector

https://www.inquirer.com/arts/philadelphia-museum-of-art-executive-resignation-joshua-helmer-complaints-20200110.html

https://www.inquirer.com/arts/philadelphia-museum-of-art-timothy-rub-apology-helmer-20200122.html

Relevant Posts:

https://lookingbackmovingforwardinmuseumeducation.com/2018/03/09/how-to-lead-a-professional-development-program-reflections-of-my-experience-presenting-one-on-gender-equity/

https://lookingbackmovingforwardinmuseumeducation.com/2017/06/16/professional-development-programs-managing-your-museums-online-reputation-and-evaluating-volunteers-and-volunteer-programs/

https://lookingbackmovingforwardinmuseumeducation.com/2019/07/18/historic-house-keeping-a-hands-on-professional-development-experience/

Services Examination: Explorable Places

August 22, 2019

As a museum professional, there are so many services I learned about that offer various ways to facilitate museum practices. For instance, there are services that help museum educators run booking and scheduling school programs. There are also services that help education programs get attention from parents and teachers to learn about field trip opportunities at museums; one of those services is Explorable Places. According to their website, Explorable Places helps parents and teachers find great learning experiences outside the classroom.

I learned about Explorable Places during this past year’s New York City Museum Educators Roundtable (NYCMER) conference. It was in the session I attended called Technology in Museums: when it works, and when it doesn’t, which discussed when it makes sense to add technology to museums; the session asked questions such as: When does introducing technology actually take away from our objective? How can we figure this out before pouring thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into a “new” technology product? The speakers, one of them was the founder of Explorable Places, discussed their partnerships to draw more teachers and students to their museum. Since attending the session, I decided to take a closer look at the website to see how this service works.

On the website, there is a place where one can find trips, assemblies, and performances by typing in one’s zip code. At the time of this post, the featured cities are New York, Kansas City, Metro-Denver, and Philadelphia.  In the modify search and search results page, there are five sections to help adults find opportunities and connect with museums to book programs. One can look for experiences by subject, grade level, activity, cost, and accommodations such as lunch space and special education programs. Also, one can look for programs that have the option to book online. When I clicked on one of the museums, a profile of the museum I selected appears which provides a brief description of the museum, pictures, and contact information.

Each profile also includes information on lunch spaces so they know if the museum has a place to eat or if there is a place nearby students can eat, and they provide information about bathrooms. Also, the profile has a section that showed tags for subjects, activities, grades, cost, and accommodations the museum has based on the search results. For instance, I went onto the Children’s Museum of the Arts profile and found the subjects educators teach are technology, arts, art, visual arts, and media/film. Profiles have a section called Learning Experiences which list educational opportunities with information such as a brief information, grade levels, capacity, price options, and duration of program. If a museum’s profile has this feature, adults could book online through Explorable Places portal which will take them to the museum’s calendar of availabilities and will guide them through the steps to book a program at the museum. I see the potential of helping more museums, parents, and teachers form connections to provide and participate in opportunities. Explorable Places’ home page includes links to pages for cultural partners, parents, and teachers to help them find what they are looking for.

For cultural partners, Explorable Places wants to help parents and teachers find them and the programs they offer. If an institution was not found on the Explorable Places site, they can reach out so Explorable Places can add them to the list to spread the word to site members. There are three tiers available for those considering reaching out to the site. The first tier, which is free, allows one to manage the page to include a photo of the site or program, one hundred words to describe what the museum/site does, up to five subject tags (verified for accuracy), and contact information and link. Each tier after the first one has additional features such as highlight learning experiences and unlimited bookings.

For parents and teachers, after clicking on the link it directs visitors to the places webpage. There are places in the states of Pennsylvania, Kansas, Colorado, New York, Delaware, and a couple of places in Massachusetts. Some of the places that are listed on the website are but not limited to Four Mile Historic Park, Old Sturbridge Village, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, and the Gore Place. Also, there is an opportunity to sign up to become a member so one could be informed about new museums or sites added to the cultural partners list.

To learn more about what Explorable Places offers and see if it is right for your site, students, or children, I included the website in the resources section.

Announcement: I will be attending this year’s AASLH Annual Meeting in Philadelphia next week from August 28th to August 31st. Instead of writing a blog post next week, I will be posting my reactions on social media and compile highlights for a post when I return. To follow my reactions to the sessions and events live, follow me on Twitter at this username: @Steward2Lindsey

Resources:

https://www.explorableplaces.com/

NYCMER 2019: https://lookingbackmovingforwardinmuseumeducation.com/2019/05/16/nycmer2019-the-yesterday-today-and-tomorrow-of-museum-education/