The Collection Wall
The Collection Wall is the largest multitouch display in North America. It stands at a stunning 5’x40′ and encourages museum visitors to visually explore the breadth of CMA’s collection and uncover deeper associations while also being able to create personalized tours with their iPads. It stimulates curiosity up-close and provides access to the collection through touch, while simultaneously providing stunning visualizations from a further vantage point. The Collection Wall, fully integrated with the museum’s digital asset management system, is a live representation of over 3,800 artworks currently on display in the museum.
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Hand-curated as well as algorithmically based visualizations can be viewed on the wall, and visitors can select any one of the images displayed across the wall at anytime. Once an artwork is selected, visitors can explore a larger view, browse related artworks, “favorite” an image, or “Save to iPad/iPhone.”
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The “Save to iPad/iPhone” feature connects to the museum’s ArtLens iPad/iPhone application, enabling visitors to wirelessly dock iPads/iPhones at any of eight stations located along the base of the Collection Wall. With an iPad docked at the wall, visitors can seamlessly save artworks that interest them into the ArtLens application, building their own custom tours that they can take from Gallery One into the main museum galleries.
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Visualizations on the wall can range from all objects on view to hand-selected groupings chosen by museum staff on thematic topics. The connection to the museum’s data system also allows for thematic groupings based on existing metadata like “Arms and Armor” and “Paintings”, with some layouts arranged chronologically along a timeline. A customized algorithm in the software groups artworks according to their dominant color, creating a vivid display of the museum’s brightest objects in a vibrant chromatic sequence. The Collection Wall presents thirty-two of these different themes, the majority drawing from the 4,100 artworks currently on view within the museum. These are looped in a 30 minute cycle, with the option for visitors to change the order and select themes via a digital “jukebox” feature on one side of the wall.
Standing 5′ x 40′, the Collection Wall is comprised of 150 Christie MicroTiles with a display of more than 23 million pixels – the equivalent of over 23 720 pixel HDTVs. Once per day, a built in content management system updates and refreshes the data in the wall with high-resolution artwork images, metadata, and the number of times each artwork has been “Favorited” on the wall and within the ArtLens iPad/iPhone application. The multitouch system allows multiple users to interact with the wall, simultaneously opening as many as 20 separate interfaces across the Collection Wall at one time. Software is written in openFrameworks, and runs on two Windows 7 workstations supported by 4 Linux computers that process the video across the wall. An additional RFID server manages the iPad station connectivity, linking up to the eight iPad docking stations along the wall that identify iPads/iPhones using RFID.
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The Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gallery One pre-opened to stakeholders on December 12, 2012 and went through a six-week testing period until its public opening on January 21, 2013. The ArtLens app for iPads was available January 5, 2013. The ArtLens app for iPhone was available December 27, 2013.
The development of Gallery One and ArtLens represents a true and equal collaboration among the curatorial, information management and technology services, education and interpretation, and design departments at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The development process was guided by CMA’s chief curator and deputy director, Griff Mann-an atypical and noteworthy approach among museums in the design of interactive technology spaces. Museum educators were instrumental in curating the space and its related experiences, and IMTS staff worked closely with internal and external partners on both concept and interactive design. This collaborative organizational structure is groundbreaking, not just within the museum community, but within user-interface design in general. It elevated each department’s contribution, resulting in an unparalleled interactive experience, with technology and software that has never been used before in any venue, content interpreted in fun and approachable ways, and unprecedented design of an interactive gallery space that integrates technology into an art gallery setting. The Project team was led by the following at Cleveland Museum of Art:Jane Alexander, Director of Information Management and Technology Services(Technology/Project Manager), Caroline Goeser, Director of Education and Interpretation(Curator/Interpretation)and Jeffrey Strean, Director of Design and Architecture(Design Oversight).
The museum partnered deeply with award-winning outside consultants to realize the project. Local Projects is responsible for all media design and collaborated with the CMA team on concept design development.
Gallery One blends art, technology, and interpretation to inspire visitors to explore the museum’s permanent collection. Offering something for everyone, the gallery features the largest multi-touch microtile screen in the United States, which displays images of over 4,100 objects from the museum’s world-renowned permanent collection. Gallery One has been heralded as a revolutionary space in the world of museums by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Mashable.com and The Plain Dealer, among others.
The Cleveland Museum of Art Team:
Chief Curator and Deputy Director – Griff Mann
Information Management and Technology Services – (Jane Alexander, Andrea Bour,Tom Hood and Niki Krause)
Education and Interpretation – (Caroline Goeser,Jennifer Foley,Seema Rao and Patty Edmonson)
Design and Architecture – (Jeffrey Strean, Andrew Gutierrez and Thomas Barnard III)
Collection Management – (Mary Suzor, Howard Agriesti, David Brichford, Elizabeth Saluk, Bruce Shewitz, Tracy Sisson)
Local Projects Team:
Jake Barton – Principal
Katie Lee – Creative Director
Keeli Shaw – Project Manager
Angela Chen – Interaction Designer
Ian Curry – Director of Interaction Design –
Erika Tarte – Graphic Designer
Michael Deal – Graphic Designer
Miriam Lakes – Content Coordinator and Developer
Josh Silverman – Creative Technologist
Ethan Holda – Director of Technology
Zenith Systems (AV Integration) Team:
Chief Technology Officer – Doug Fortney
Systems Integration Developer – Jeremy Weatherford
Technician – Adam Nelson
Erick Kendrick, Principal
Marcelle Kratochvil – Lead Developer
Martin Channon – Systems Engineer
Gallagher and Associates (Exhibit Design):
Patrick Gallagher, Principal
Cybelle Jones, Creative Director
Sujit Tolat, Senior Exhibit Designer
Sara Pasch, Project Manager
Rebecca Kelly, Graphic Designer