Illustrated Audio Opportunities


Gallery tours

The illustrated audio concept may be adapted to the creation of virtual gallery tours. Web gallery tours can:

Each tour's web page can contain links to pages containing individual illustrated audio clips. There can be orientation pages starting with an introduction page with a clip identifying the tour followed by a page introducing the presenting person(s). A floor plan map page identifying the galleries in the subject floor can be next in the orientation sequence.

A QuickTime floor plan panoramic example (without audio) is:

Other static floor plan examples include

After the orientation pages there are links to pages containing clips that show and interpret specific objects in the gallery room(s). The illustrated audio page interpreting the painting Right and Left from the National Gallery of Art is an example. A gallery room map image, with a dot or other marker identifying the location of a specific object in the room, can be used on the page with the illustrated audio clip describing that object.

Admission departments of colleges and universities effectively employ illustrated audio tours. Campus maps are used to orient viewers. Here are creative examples using interactive maps:

Bucknell University's admissions department offers high bandwidth and low bandwidth tours. The 15 minute high bandwidth tour is a 24 segment slide show. Each segment features a separate aspect of the University and contains a static photo of a student next to changing slides picturing the topic. The figure and the slides are overlaid on a moving map of the campus. The geographic focus of each segment on the map is magnified as the segment begins.
Harvard University offers a virtual tour web site. The QTVR section start page contains a campus map and three drop-down menus. Clicking on a building selects an individual tour. By clicking on "Fogg Art Museum" the site visitor sees a 360 degree panoramic photo of the central Courtyard of the Fogg Art Museum with accompanying selections for "General Information," "Slide Show: Fogg Artwork." and "Movie: Unique Resources." By selecting the movie, a 2 1/3 minute narrated slide show begins. The artwork slide show is not narrated and features ten objects from the collection.

As suggested above for accession interpretations, the gallery tour segments should be brief.

In the November 22, 2004 issue of Business Week, there is an article on the refurbished Modern Art Museum in New York City. The article quotes Steve Peltzman, MOMA's chief information officer and says that "Ultimately, art watchers should be able to log onto MOMA's Web site and customize their tours, which will be downloaded to a handheld when they arrive." The article suggests that visitors will be able to choose from tour options online and then use a Toshiba Pocket PC to guide them on their physical tour. While the use of onsite handhelds is a creative use of technology, the viewing of an online customized tour before arriving at a museum will serve to make the visitor's onsite experience more enriching. The visitor will be able to better plan the use of his or her time at the museum and be pre-informed on the objects to be seen one-by-one and in a larger context. A museum can conserve scarce docent resources through the use of self-directed tours.

The West Bend Art Museum placed on a web page samples of an audio tour. The page may be likened to a page containing a guide to an online illustrated audio discussion of objects by a curator or docent. The West Bend page contains audio-only segments, not illustrated audio segments.


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