What is digital age storytelling’s role in the museum setting? What forms should it take?: an app, an interactive, a website? Does it need to be woven into the fabric of an entire exhibit or can it punctuate a more traditional one? Can it truly prompt different social interactions in museums? Where can we find best practices and guidelines to share across the field?
When the National Endowment for the Humanities approached the Tenement Museum with the idea of partnering to offer a workshop on digital technology in museums, these questions emerged as some of the most compelling issues. As the Tenement Museum staff set out to explore the field, we found many innovative and inspiring projects, but we couldn’t find a shared database to consider the field and share best practices. To that end, we hosted a Digital Storytelling workshop in New York on May 1-3, 2016 and invited 20 professional working on digital storytelling projects at museums from across the country. This website includes our learning from the workshop and a collection of resources on museums and digital storytelling.
The Tenement Museum brought together a team of advisers, drawn from museums and interactive design to plan the conference.
Jake Barton is principal and founder of Local Projects, which created the media design for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design with Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and the Frank Gehry designed Eisenhower Presidential Memorial. Jake is recognized as a leader in the field of interaction design for physical spaces, and in the creation of collaborative storytelling projects where participants generate content. Clients include SFMOMA, StoryCorps, GE, Johnson & Johnson, BMW Guggenheim Lab, Cleveland Museum of Art, the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, and the Sugar Hill Museum of Children’s Art and Storytelling.
Kate Haley Goldman
Haley Goldman Consulting
Kate Haley Goldman is an Evaluator and Strategist, currently working with Lower East Side Tenement Museum, American Civil War Museum, Chrysler Museum of Art, AAAS, and others. She works on projects with difficult cultural history, citizen science, digital storytelling, data-based decision-making, institutional capacity building, and long-term visitor outcomes. Chat with her on Twitter @KateHG4.
Gallagher & Associates
Alice Rubin recently joined the team at Gallagher & Associates as Studio Director in their New York office. For seven years she was Director of Special Projects at the Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, where she was hired to create the Keeping History Center. She worked cross-departmentally on the museum’s audience engagement initiatives relating to the permanent collection, exhibitions, programming and strategic partnerships. Her background is in producing content-rich media for museums and cultural institutions.
The J. Paul Getty Trust
Amelia is currently the web content strategist at The J. Paul Getty Trust. Previously, she managed social media outreach at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and was an assistant professor in the Museum Studies Program at The George Washington University, where she designed the curriculum concerning digital media. Her scholarship focuses on the use of digital media to enrich audience engagement in museum practice, principally in terms of communication, storytelling, and democratization. She holds a BA from UCLA in History/Art History and a PhD in American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Phillip Tiongson is a co-founder of Potion, a New York based interactive design studio that crafts technology into intuitive interactive experiences. Phillip is a software engineer, designer and filmmaker, with over 10 years of experience in creating-cutting edge interactive experiences. He is currently a founder at the award-winning interactive design firm Potion, which was recently nominated for a National Design Award. At the MIT Media Lab, he completed his MS in Media Arts and Sciences with the Interactive Cinema Group. He was awarded his MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Masha Turchinsky is Senior Manager and Senior Producer in Digital at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Working cross-platform, and with a proven track record of leading high-quality and award-winning multimedia programs and strategic partnerships with major organizations, tech sector leaders, and philanthropic foundations—including Khan Academy, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the New York Botanical Garden, and the NYC DOE— she is a passionate expert in developing engaging and innovative content for museums and cultural organizations that invite users’ creativity, learning, and participation through the arts and media.
Miriam oversees the administration of tours, school programs, and accessibility. She is continuously amazed by the power of personal stories to engage visitors in hard topics and is interested in the nexus of museums, technology, and where past meets the present. Miriam also serves as a consultant for the National Park Service, Singapore Tourism Board, and other local and international organizations. Prior to joining the Tenement Museum, Miriam worked at The Museum at Eldridge Street, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and The Jewish Museum. She holds an MS in museum education from Bank Street College of Education.
Associate, Programs & Digital Media
Nick serves as Education Associate, assisting the Vice President of Education in developing tour content, training, and evaluating Museum educators. He has taken a leading role in developing our digital projects; managing web-based projects, digital Museum installations, and video/audio production. He assists in training educators in storytelling and the effective use of technology to engage visitors. Before coming the Tenement, Nick worked for a biotechnology company, played harmonica in a country jug band, and gave beer history tours around Brooklyn. He holds a BFA in Acting and Writing from Emerson College.
Associate for Tenement Talks
Laura will oversee all conference logistics. She is manager of the Museum’s Tenement Talks program, an evening series of lectures, readings, panel discussions, films and other programs that provide historical and contemporary perspectives on New York City’s rich culture. Prior to coming to the Museum, Laura worked as an editor and reporter. Before then she fulfilled her dream of getting paid to watch sports, working as a sports reporter in Florida, New York, Oregon, Kentucky, and her hometown, Kansas City, Missouri. She studied journalism at Florida A&M University and has an MS in American Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Senior VP for Education
Annie oversees the development and ongoing improvement of all Museum interpretive programs. She has been the project director of six NEH grants, including Shop Life, which with Potion Design, won the 2013 AAM Gold Muse Award for Multimedia Installations. She received her Ph.D. in American Jewish History from Columbia University in 2004. She is the author, with Daniel Soyer, of Emerging Metropolis: New York Jews in the Age of Immigration (NYU Press), winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award. She received her PhD in History from Columbia University, and also served as Vice President of Education at the Museum at Eldridge Street.
Sarah Litvin is a doctoral candidate in U.S. History at the CUNY Graduate Center where she studies (im)migration, race, class, gender and pianos in Progressive Era New York and has earned a certificate in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. She works as a Tour Guide and researcher at Turnstile Tours, and a consultant with the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, where she is creating the Museum’s inaugural Distance Learning Program. Prior to coming to CUNY, Sarah was Senior Education Associate at the Tenement Museum, where she directed accessibility and living history programming from 2008-2013. Sarah is also the co-founder and co-chair of the Grad Center’s Public History Collective, and a member of the Steering Committee for New York’s Museum Access Consortium.
Workshop participants led 5-minute lightning talks (20 slides/15 seconds). Each talk provides an overview of the exhibit s/he is working on, showing the potential for digital storytelling,and including an essential question s/he wanted to explore during the workshop. Click below to listen to each participant’s lightening talk.
April is an educator and historian with the National Park Service, based in the Northeast Regional Office in Boston, Massachusetts. She provides support in the field of history and especially history education, outreach, and storytelling, to the 84 National Park sites that make up the Northeast Region, from Maine to Virginia. One of April’s professional prerogatives is to challenge parks and park staff to dig deeper and work with local communities to uncover, co-create, and share stories which display the full, multi-colored, and complex narratives that make American history exciting.
Stephanie is the Director of Education at The American Civil War Museum in Richmond, VA. In her 14 years in museums and informal education, Stephanie has worked in everything from costumed interpretation and K-12 outreach education to adult programming and professional development. Her experience at institutions including the Pacific Science Center, American Alliance of Museums, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, and Mackinac State Historic Parks unite a passion for creating engaging visitor-centered programs with community relevance and professional best practices.
Alex is the Content Strategist at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, providing high-level planning, development, and management of museum content as it manifests in permanent collection galleries, digital interpretative strategies, print publications, and Mia’s website. Current initiatives include ArtStories, a digital storytelling platform; Living Rooms, an initiative to activate Mia’s period rooms; Digital Diaspora, a collaboration with the MN Somali community to develop content on Somali art; and an IMLS-funded project to narrate global art histories through digital maps.
Chelsea is the Educational Outreach Coordinator at the Maryland Historical Society. Beginning Fall 2014 Chelsea took over the development of the Historical Society’s distance learning program, Timeline Studio, which has grown to reach international audiences. Through live video conferencing sessions, Chelsea helps students of all ages tease out stories from the past by guiding them through connecting images, video, and objects. Chelsea found her passion for museum education and the power of storytelling at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Elaine has dedicated her career working at the intersection of art, science, history and public culture. For the past four years she has served as the SVP of Exhibits, Education & Public Programs at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, NY. She’s embarking on an upcoming exhibition on the history, ethical and social implications of drones. As the inaugural Director of Education, Programs and Exhibitions at the New York Public Library she spearheaded the acclaimed “Lunch Hour NYC” exhibit which explored the birth of this mid-day meal, featured a restored Automat and celebrated the library’s world-class menu collection.
Silvina is Product Manager of Future Projects in the Levine Institute for Holocaust Education at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She explores the potential of emerging technologies in museums and Holocaust education. She has previously worked on web content development, video production, translations, copyright, and digital engagement. She is currently researching ideas around data visualization, immersive experiences, and serious games and testing prototypes of digital products with museum visitors to understand their storytelling and educational potential.
Lisa is an expert on the use of digital heritage for research and educating the public. She is currently the Director of the Center for Digital Initiatives at the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation, which has been excavating and interpreting the site of the 1607 James Fort for over two decades. This new center, which was established in 2015, will develop cutting-edge digital applications for educating and engaging public audiences, both online and onsite. Prior to joining Jamestown Rediscovery, Fischer had been the Director of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Digital History Center (DHC) where she oversaw the development of Virtual Williamsburg.
Kim is the Curator/Content Specialist at The National WWII Museum. A New Orleans native, she received a BA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in German and Judaic Studies. Working at the National Yiddish Book Center, Kim rescued thousands of Yiddish books out of dumpsters and damp basements before returning south to earn her Masters in Library and Information Science from LSU. Since coming to The National WWII Museum in 2008, she has curated several major exhibits including Guests of the Third Reich: American POWs in Europe. She specializes in wartime labor periodicals and the prisoners of war experience.
Becky is the Education Specialist for the Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH). She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in biology. At the museum she coordinates educational programming and works on the exhibit design and marketing teams. She has a special interest in 3-D technology and using it for educational purposes. She works closely with the Idaho Virtualization Lab, a research branch of the IMNH, to utilize 3-D digital museum specimens for educational purposes. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, photography, and computers.
Melissa serves as the Digital Content Manager at The Barnum Museum in Bridgeport, CT, managing the museum’s social media platforms and blogs. She also aids the museum in education initiatives and community outreach. She worked at The Barnum Museum as the registrar for five years before transitioning to her current role. Previous to entering the museum field, Melissa was a high school history teacher. Melissa has been a speaker at conferences run by NEMA and the Connecticut League of History Organizations on both education and registration topics.
Ned is an Associate Media Developer with the Minnesota Historical Society. After graduating from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a film degree in 2010, he became increasingly interested in institutional media and how digital tools can be used to enrich a cultural mission. Ned has worked with many Twin Cities cultural institutions such as Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker Art Center and The Soap Factory gallery, for which he produces and edits the award-winning Soapcast artist interview podcast series. His films have screened across the country, most recently at the Sonoma International Film Festival.
Jessica is a museum educator and the Administration Manager at the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum in Washington, DC—a women’s history museum sharing and exploring stories of women’s leadership and political activism. Previously, Jessica worked first in domestic violence advocacy, and later in disability support where she became interested in the role of cultural participation and the arts in community development. She is interested in the ways that museum digital storytelling can spark thinking that opens new possibilities for individuals and communities and builds a broad, inclusive history that values all experiences.
Emily is the Digital Content Editor for the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She is responsible for the development of web-based content and for finding new methods of engagement with digital audiences. Lang holds a B.A. in History from Kent State University and a M.A. in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program. She has previously held positions at the Ohio History Connection, the Museum at Bethel Woods, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Lang aspires to use digital storytelling as an entry point into the Clark to make everyone feel comfortable and welcomed.
David is Associate Director for Digital Resources in the Education Department at Ford’s Theatre, where he has worked since October 2013. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, he has made connecting people with historical events through storytelling in many different formats—exhibitions, tours, site-based, talks, publications, and many different digital means—the mainstay of his career. In addition to his position at Ford’s Theatre, David is currently a part-time History Ph.D. student at George Mason University, studying 19th-century U.S. and Latin American history, as well as digital history.
Abby joined the staff at Stratford Hall as the Director of Interpretation & Education in 2010. She oversees the interpretation of the Great House and grounds; manages security of the historic area; manages visitor services; develops interpretation plans; oversees school and group tours; assists in social media; and develops the mobile interpretation strategy. Stratford Hall’s app for the Great House ((re)discover Stratford) launched last summer. Phase I of the app introduced self-guiding, first person storytelling, a children’s investigation, and the Geek Tour (staff videos about random topics). Phase II planning is underway and will include the addition of an enslaved perspective and iBeacons.
My name is Ed Rodley and I’m a sucker for a good narrative. I am the Associate Director of Integrated Media at Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, and a passionate believer in the informal learning that is at the heart of the museum experience. My work is deeply influenced by constructivist learning theory, but I’m no zealot. During my career, I have developed major exhibitions on the Soviet space program, Leonardo da Vinci, Egyptian archaeology and Star Wars. I’ve written audio tours, multimedia tours, websites, and books like CODE | WORDS: Technology and Theory in the Museum and Mobile Apps for Museums: The AAM Guide to Planning and Strategy.
As Director of Digital at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Carolyn is leading an ambitious digital program to re-imagine and build a forward-thinking digital presence, which will have an essential role in implementing the Gardner’s overall strategic plan. She was previously an independent consultant working with cultural organizations to transform the way they use digital technologies to effect change. She is Vice-President of the Museum Computer Network (MCN) and will become President in November 2016-2017, the 50th anniversary of the organization.
Peggy is the Interpretation Manager at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. As a member of the education department, her responsibilities include developing in-gallery experiences that connect visitors and artworks. In her three years at the Amon Carter, Sell has created interactive installations, visitor takeaways, and online experiences that relate to the artworks, artists, art processes, and broader social topics addressed in the museum’s special exhibitions and permanent collection. Her recent work includes tools for visitors with low or no vision, involving interpretive pieces that include braille, large-print labels, various tactile tools, and facilitated experiences in specific programs.
Julian heads the exhibit and graphic design departments for the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM). He recently led a complete reimagining the Streets of Old Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s most popular exhibit, and is currently busy leading Design Thinking workshops, redesigning the museum’s wayfinding and planning exhibitions for the next several years.
Before joining the MPM, Julian was the Director of Experience Design at the Adler Planetarium, where he led design for the award-winning Welcome Gallery, Our Solar System exhibition, the Cosmology gallery and many other projects.