At SFMOMA, an interpretive goals process has been instituted to bring together curators, educators, educational technologists and other concerned parties to design the interpretive “menu” for exhibitions once they are put on the schedule. The result is a transition from the old model of “technology as remediation” — in which kiosks were placed at the end of an exhibition (or on another floor altogether) while visitors were often left clueless before the art itself — to a mix of analog and digital resources, designed and dosed to meet visitor needs as they arise. The result may be a net decrease in technological interventions, but arguably a more effective use of technology when it is deployed. Three case studies illustrate the range of responses to this process, and the development of technology solutions at a variety of scales and budgets, with varying degrees of success. Results of recent evaluations of mobile tours, both cell phone and multimedia-based, are included, as well as indications for future directions stemming from this action research.


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