How to create a digital trail of discovery: Content design and interpretation principles

How-to Session
Melissa Langdon, Western Australian Museum, Australia

This workshop invites participants to consider key content design and interpretative principles involved in creating dynamic digital trails. The session will refer to the conceptual design of "Secrets of the Maritime Museum" – a digital trail delivered on Apple iPad Minis using 360º animation, film and illustration to bring to life 12 different objects from the Western Australian Museum's collection.

Key principles guiding content creation and interpretation will be discussed, including notions of participation, empowerment, engagement and co-creation. The humanisation of collection items as "social objects" will also be explored. Similarly, the use of objects as triggers for the sharing of secret stories and curatorial anecdotes with visitors will be examined.

In the second part of the workshop, participants will be supported to create storyboards for digital trails that interpret stand-out objects from their museum’s collection. They will be encouraged to consider a wide range of media formats including animation, film, art, photography, archival footage, text and sound.

Key questions posed will include: how can a museum item be presented as a social object that encourages the sharing of essentially human stories? Can objects be interpreted in ways that reveals the museum and showcase the knowledge, experiences and skills of those working behind the scenes? What are some of the creative approaches that can be taken? And, are there are any secrets about the objects that can be shared?

Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the challenges and opportunities that come from creating digital trails of discovery.

Bibliography:
Bibliography

Appleton, J. (2001). “Museums for ‘the people’?” In S. Watson (ed.) Museums and their communities. London: Routledge.
Engeström, J. (2008). Social objects: What beach balls and potatoes can teach us about social Networks. Consulted August 14, 2015. http://slideshare.net/rashmi/jyriengestrom-social-objects
Govier, L. (2010). Leaders in co-creation? Why and how museums could develop their co-creative practice with the public, building on ideas from the performing arts and other non-museum organisations. Leicester: University of Leicester.
Parry, R. (2007). Recoding the museum: Digital heritage and the technologies of change. London: Routledge.
Piscitelli, B. (2011). “What’s driving children’s cultural participation?” In D. Griffin and L. Paroissien (eds), Understanding Museums: Australian Museums and Museology. Consulted August 12, 2014. http://nma.gov.au/research/understanding-museums/BPiscitelli_2011.html
Simon, N. (2010). The Participatory Museum. Santa Cruz: Museum 2.0.
Watson, S. (2007). Museums and their Communities. London: Routledge.