Technology + “Power, influence and responsibility”

“Power, influence and responsibility” was a heavy theme for this year’s American Alliance of Museums conference. While it could be interpreted as advocating for diversity in American museums, we saw it through the lens of museum technology.

So how do you use technology to influence visitor behavior and bring attention to specific elements of an exhibition?  And what power do museums have to focus attention? Empowering museum visitors to be content creators can be done with selfies, such as our selfie app (made in partnership between the Milwaukee Art Museum and Antenna).

Antenna's marketing manager Blaire Moskowitz explained, as part of the "Using Selfie Culture to Engage Audiences" panel: "The museum has the power to focus visitor’s attention of specific works of art and their stories – in this case, the portrait miniatures whose identities have been lost to time.  Our influence emboldens present day visitors to become active participants in and have visual “conversations” with the museum, by making selfies.  And it’s our responsibility to create the tools that enable this to be possible."

You can view her slides here.


Content designer, Miranda Smith, noticed a theme through the media and tech panels that she attended. There is quite a focus on creating immersive experiences. Like with the selfie app, the goal is to connect people to the art objects – but immersion differs with the ability to create sensory experiences. This will take collaboration, she notes, “even in the Ongoing Games panel with the Children’s Museum of Houston, we all had to group together to solve a math puzzle at the tables. The goals of the museum, and indeed even from our own art selfie for MAM, were to get people interacting, sharing an experience, and putting them inside of the experience they were having.

*And a special thanks to fellow panelists from the University of Houston-Clear Lake Art Gallery (Jeffery Bowen, the Phillips Collection (Brooke Rosenblatt), The Dalí Museum (Kathy Greif), and Mar Dixon, whose slides are below:

Selfie slides

- author