The “Classless Society” interactive feature is a tablet- and mobile-ready rich media complement to the exhibition “Classless Society,” which was on view from Sept. 7, 2013, to March 9, 2014, at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.
The museum exhibition features 20 artists whose work touches on issues of class. Images of all the artwork are included with the interactive feature. The feature, however, delves deeper into the issues surrounding class through essays based on a wealth of scholarly research; statistics that graphically reveal disparities based on such things as race, urban vs. rural populations, family income, gender and nationality; and personal interviews that came out of an interviewing project of students, faculty and staff at Skidmore, a small, private liberal arts college in upstate New York.
The rich content on the site includes interactive text boxes that features anonymous quotations from interview subjects, which allows them the safety to share personal experiences of class and how it intersects with notions of gender, race and ethnicity; videos of some of the people interviewed, including a student who talks about being lower class and living off food stamps; and anonymous audio recordings of people in the Skidmore community, with some who say the American Dream is dead and others who say they American Dream is alive and well.
The vivid visual display and rich content are enhanced by an “In the News” section, which has been updated throughout the run of the exhibition to share the latest articles from a variety of news sources that deal with class and associated issues, including inequality, health, education and jobs, to name a few.
Of note is how this interactive feature realizes the Tang’s mission as a teaching museum. Skidmore student Joe Klockowski worked with the Tang’s Digital Content Producer, to design the site using Adobe Muse on a very limited budget. It was recognized by Adobe as their “Adobe Muse Site of the Day” as an example of a creative and innovative way to use the software.
The content they used followed an interdisciplinary approach – through research, interviews and the use of artwork – that mirrors the exhibition itself, which was put together by curators from the Tang, an English professor and an economics professor from Skidmore College. The site gives viewers an easy-to-use and dynamic means to interact with the “Classless Society” exhibit in a way that is unique for a small museum. For these reasons, we would like to be considered for a “Best Small Museum Project” in the rich media category.