Today we have greater, faster access to information than ever before. There is constant competition for our attention. Within a few hours of waking up you may have already learned a new way of finding stuff out that you didn’t know existed yesterday. Despite, or maybe because of, this dizzying pace we continue to crave meaning.
Stories are where we please that craving. They help us understand the world and bring us closer to one another in the process. Some stories live within us: dreams. Others are around us: objects. And then there are some places we can go to merge the two together: museums. These days brands across industries have caught on to their power. “Storytelling” is a now a buzzword. Museums, though, have been in on this trending topic for awhile (just a little while… more like forever).
At Cuseum we’re into helping museums figure out how to enrich experiences through technology. Here are four facets of storytelling we’re especially jazzed about right now:
It’s hard to become immersed if you don’t feel included. What are different ways we can everyone feel comfortable in museums? The answer should bring one from experiencing a story to helping to create it. Like the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Cleveland Museum have done for teens.
2. The fun kind of learning
As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” Excitement creates openness. We may have fun and not realize we learned something until way later. This is why we’re excited about creating beacon-activated gamification in museums. The focus is on engagement rather than distraction. As Jasper Visser wrote for The Museum of the Future, “Fun is only learning under optimal conditions.”
3. Architecture of the narrative
Have you seen this TED talk on the common architecture of great presentations? In it Nancy Duarte shares her journey to uncover the pattern behind the most powerful speeches in history. There’s a beginning, a middle, and an end (of course) but between “what is” is compared with “what could be.” What would happen if we applied this storytelling method in museums?
In a recent paper for Museums and the Web 2015 Roussou et al. described workshops they held to experiment with co-creating digital experiences in museums. “Museums have graduated from the mere display and presentation of collections to the creation of experiences that respond to their visitors’ evolving needs and expectations,” they said.
We’re especially interested in how social media shapes these expectations. and have created a platform that makes it easy for visitors to share their interpretation of art on social. We also help museums co-create the experience by combining this engagement with the work’s context.