Building Digital Capabilities at MALI (Museo de Arte de Lima)

From the beginning of the pandemic, Museo de Arte de Lima , with help of organizations such as Fundacion Telefonica, has been designing and experimenting new ways of mediating art through digital technologies in order to drive cross-sectional changes across the organization. From Web Art in collaboration with local artists, to the implementation of management tools and data scrums, our team at MALI has been experiencing new ways of understanding the public as well as its relation to the museum’s art collection.

In this panel we would like to share our learnings from this experience and open up a discussion regarding the challenges of driving digital change in a non profit organization in South America. Track:Latin America


Unknown Speaker 14:34
Okay. Well, good afternoon, everyone. First of all, do you see my presentation if it works fine. I would like to thank Eric crystal who was here with us just a minute ago. And people at MC N Who invited us to be part of this year annual Congress. This gives us the opportunity to share our experiences of digital transformation at Mazovia Diliman. Salima Museum of Art? Well, we I will start by introducing myself and then let her say Carlos do the same before jumping into the presentation. So my name is and I invite you to put can write your questions in the chat box so we can answer it at the end of the session. So my name is Rafael VR, and Project Coordinator here at Nalley. I coordinate the efforts for implementation of two digital projects, which are Estonia's which is a digital content platform that I'm going to talk about later in this presentation and the future software for the management of the museum's archive. Carlos.

Unknown Speaker 17:10
Yes. And I'm Jose Carlos. mariachi, I am. I am a curator and dependence color writer, but I was a member of the Board of Trustees at the Museum of Art until this year. I'm still helping supporting the team there and especially the curatorial committee and digital transformation initiatives. Yeah, so perhaps, just to give you an overview of you what you see here because what you are looking at is the the facade of the of the museum. The This was called the exhibition palace or bilateral realist position in Spanish where the model is located right now and it was a pioneering building in Latin America. They were erected. On a rectangle of 80 meters long by 54 meters wide, with new renaissance influences, and it covers two floors about 10,000 square meters. There was there is a beautiful central courtyard and the manufacture of the columns made of iron were imported from Europe, attributed to the EFL house, and possibly is the earliest important new Amin building with this new construction technique. In Peru. It was the palace was at the heart of one of the most important was one of the most important organ projects of the 19th century. And that in the park and the palace in 1972, there was a huge exhibition of art, science and industries was a sort of an eclectic exhibition of 80 different categories that sought to show the development of Peru by gathering under the same roof, specimens of Natural History, inventions, samples of industrial, agricultural and manufacturing production Works of Art and Archaeology. So anything everything anything and everything. So by the 1954, I mean, and then it had lots of different uses for for decades. But in 1954, the city council of Lima loaned the building to the arts patrons association with the purpose of building an art museum in Peru. So it's a landmark exhibition venue, which holds today, a survey of almost 3000 years of history of proven art from pre Columbian textiles and poetry's to meet 20th century painting and also contemporary art. It has actually the largest it's the largest contemporary art collection in the country. So but we are not here to talk about the museum. We are here to talk about. Yeah, about what I mean the changes that were done, but especially how we think about museums what it means to be AMA Zoom in a 21st century because after the Coronavirus, which was terrible for for cultural organizations

Unknown Speaker 20:14
where there were MANY reasons why he has been so detrimental. I mean, mostly because of course there was this reliance on the physical and or the face to face format. No. And with the closure of CDs, cultural institutions have fought with him forced to cancel the public activities. And that's what happened. I mean, it came I mean digital gain momentum that drove digitalization and the dissemination of content but if we think out loud, our cultural organizations merrily broadcasters of content, because the importance of cultural institutions is not only to safeguard the collector disseminate the content, but to understand the their potential based on those images on the material characteristics of those concepts, namely the digital so for for for Molly, art and culture means a I mean, it's a mean of our social cohesion and citizenship and provides spaces for participation. So how we can build that into CVT through the online channels that that was more or less the the great challenge. And that's how we started to build digital capabilities at the Mallee. Actually, from my experience, I come from an information systems perspective we work in our Sun technology for my life, but My professional background is information systems. My work on Mali was much closer to a change manager in order to carry out this transformation with the help of Rafael and and other people there. And perhaps it's important to say that there were three fundamental axes that had to be considered when you think about this, at least is how we developed our roadmap. So one was one word, the platform's the other one than the management and the other one, the content and when we talk about platforms here, we're talking about the technologies and the means that we have. We need to carry out our work. It can range from a website from a mailing system from the collection management system, we use TMS, a payment platform, the archive of the or the bibliographic the library system, or other specialized websites. So I mean, that and also we also carry a family we carry a relatively successful low cost course program that which good part of the population, but that was only on site. So we also need to build digital, a digital platform for that. So but the idea of platforms is not only technical, it is also cultural. So cultural platform must generate access and allow us to open dialogue. It's not just a question of generating access, but also to open dialogue and build a critical perspective with our audiences. So that was one side. The other one was the management and how, how could we get every everything of this operationalize executed? Who responsible have this tool or the other one who measures the data? It is only a question of it's not only a question of what should be done, but also of having the necessary people and establishing protocols that will make the processes easily transferable from one to another person. So I mean, that was also necessary. We had to build it from scratch, as I will tell you a little bit in a moment. And the third part is that part of it's becoming very fashionable now, which is content and it's a matter of carrying out sort of translation or mediation,

Unknown Speaker 24:01
of how we develop that face to face experience into the digital realm and that that's beyond the concrete experience of the exhibition or digital channel. It should allow, connect MANY concepts together in order to build a storytelling refire. We'll also talk about that in a later. So what we when we started, it was it was nice, in a way because it was nothing. I mean, the museum was not that kind though they had several platforms work into already, though. They were not keen of integrating the platforms. And they were relying on different technologies on a diverse ecosystem of technologies. Some of them were were legacy legacy technologies and the other ones were a little bit more recent, but the thing is that we we call that phase zero, because it was the basics, which began with a study of the existing ecosystem, what we had, for example there. I mean, as I was saying, there were different platforms, some of them carrying the same faction function, or there were MANY databases with different categories for the same thing. So there was not a consistent Metadata. So I mean, even even updating the internal mailing system, I mean, they have three mailings to two or three mailing systems. We integrated everything into just one mailing mailing system. In short, it was it has to do with a series of details that were where we that enabled us to work not only faster, but especially more efficiently. And that was the first change of mindset, working everything with digital tools in the cloud. There was no cloud imagine I mean of course, people were using Google Docs, but there was not really a centralized cloud, which was absolutely necessary because no one could go at the time to the museum. So fortunately, I mean, bad but fortunately, in a way, I mean, the COVID prompted us to work in this more collaborative way. So that was the first phase which was like, start from zero and then we started with with with with let's say what it's right now today available, so So I mean, the first day was to activate a temporary website, the previous waves website was I mean, the the CMS Content Management management system was terrible. Nobody could use it on the expert. So we said okay, everybody should be able I mean, we give enough privileges depending on the on the on the person and what they have to do, and everybody's on it. The website is not going to be one guy that he's gonna centralize all this information, everybody responsible for their information. And that was a huge mind shift also. And let's not forget that not all public. Not all the audience enters to see the exhibitions, MANY do do we to make research others or to access the courses? So, I mean, we have to think in a much more ample way. And that's why we also, I mean, all these were decisions that were taken by the team or the museum. No. So that was that was the the let's say the stage in which we were in. We will talk a little bit more about the data dashboard in a moment, but we also set up an online shop using Shopify I mean, the ticketing system that that when the pandemia was over, at least when it was it was diminished for quite some time we were able to open the museum, and all these was data. All these was data that we started to gather for the first time, that that helped us to get lots of insights that we will see in a moment that that enabled us to to build on the other stages. That we are working on. So I mean, we are right now in that phase in the second phase, in what we see as tomorrow, but it's to tomorrow today, which is a new website, a platform for digital publications for a digital archive because we have lots of document I mean, the Mally has, I mean once more when we conceive a museum, we need to understand its complexity. And in the case of the Mali, there are there are MANY different areas that are that need to be taken into account. So I mean, that's that's, I think, in a nutshell, I think, Raphael you would like to add to this

Unknown Speaker 28:39
to this. I mean, there is something true there are like MANY aspects of the museum's works that we're gonna we're taking into account into our digital transformation strategy. When we look, I mean, this is what is happening today. And we're gonna publish all of this tomorrow. But at the end there is like this whole ecosystem that we're building, and in the case of Mali, every member of the team, every worker at New Museum has, like participated into building this ecosystem, which is like a partial view of what is going to exist even in the future because we're not taking into account other systems like a a DAM, Digital Asset Management system, and the CMS that we're going to build for the MANY aspects of our future website who's going to combine another couple of projects to make like a whole proposal of an experience online for the museum that's gonna let you travel across all of these systems, across all of the material who comes from which comes from the archives, who can come from the collection, and even the contents we're going to create, in collaboration with, with artists and with curators, and even with the public. So, I don't know if it's Carlos, is there something else you'd like to add?

Unknown Speaker 30:04
No, I mean, let's move on. Because I think we are short of time. Yeah. So I thought I thought I talked too much about the museum. I think at the beginning. We're gonna start

Unknown Speaker 30:15
to talk about the actual projects. So I think you're gonna probably recognize yourself into what we're gonna show in this first stance, because we all had this, this, this reflection this, the thought now at the beginning of the of the bending of the pandemic, of course, it was a prison thing. So how do we translate the real experience into the digital world? And we've done some experiences you all have, and we've come to some conclusions and tried some some different things and negative things that were done before or within before. The first The first one is to actually the digitization of the museum, almost the museum itself, its galleries, collections, its archival material, and so on. So it's the, the galleries as I said, and you've seen that before, we did it mainly. Of course, this was done last year during the pandemic, when the museum was closed. We started doing everything online, we moved into the digital realm, to keep a contact with our audiences, and we tried MANY things, of course, and there was the conferences. There was a broadcast there's also social media was very important for transition into the digital world and keep in contact with our audiences. And then there was this, which is actually a collaboration with an artist and we're starting to do web art and digital art. So I think, I believe, like this is one of our greatest greatest achievements. And Carlos is going to talk about it later because it also empowers and give capabilities to the artists to better know their audiences in the digital realm. So I invite you to see this project is called Spider so so all the lighthouses of the Brueggen coast. So project in collaboration with the artist Lucidea Bisaya. And with the support from the Zoom Telefonica, which has been part of MANY of the projects we've done so far, and it's been helping to build this digital ecosystem securely,

Unknown Speaker 32:39
perhaps, just just wrapping up what you said Raphael about the total photos, I think it's very interesting because, for I mean, it was not just a website, which was, of course, a digital production, jointly a joint initiative by Telefonica and the Museum of Art, which is called iraya project, but we also enabled the analysis of the users that what were the users interacting with on the website. So we created a special dashboard that allows the artists and the curators and the team at Malian Telefonica foundation to review the KPIs as we do at the Malyon we will talk about that in a moment to make informed decisions. And it was very interesting for the artist because the artist usually what happens with an artist is that he puts our work online or physically and that's it. And that's that's where the work ends. And no in this case, that was where the work was starting. Because the for the first time this artist was able to realize how MANY people were getting into the website and also to in which parts that were interacting and also what tweaks we could make in order to generate better interaction, not just numbers, but also in terms of quality. So I mean, that's a different change of paradigm also towards the way in which artists work with the museum, not just by putting a piece but but being really engaged with the audience, which we find finally one of our main our main pursuits. And as Raphael was saying, I mean, we tried in all these processes to build a data driven culture. So today, both the management of the database segmentation as well as the measurement of data and audiences is handled by the archives and libraries team, and they also produce the dashboards. We do that for several reasons. The main one is technical. It is a team that has the most experience in this type of analysis. But there is also here a paradigm shift. We usually see libraries or our archives as boring spaces, outdated, passive access to information that today they need to manage data and they manage more data. So archives and libraries in museums are have a central role to be send the the Molly's libraries and archives, Steve was trained using Data Studio, and we use additional tools like Supermetrics or hot yard to generate much better information. So which is interesting is that with the with the team, with the curatorial team with the with the marketing team with with the educational team, we analyze the impact of the exhibitions in real time, also of the use of the website and we compare the digital user with the in person users. And for example, we noticed that 60% of our audience were female. So you cannot talk about the family in terms of he him but have she her? I mean, it's a completely different way of thinking. So first, when we think about the money we think we need to think about and it's even a person around the 15 1617 to 20 years old, so it's just chichi is a young person. So that's how also we envisioned the profile so data allows us, not just very teamworks where the problem no longer belong to a single area, but to the team. But also but also I mean, it generates other new insights. So that's that's also I think, a very relevant thing that there was a complete change. There. Now the family we have a once a month, the the board, the board of trustees, and the management team and the curators, they have access to these data. And they look at it and they analyze it. Yeah, so that's like a big paradigm shift.

Unknown Speaker 36:55
If I may add, there's, of course, this is this is a big overview of the tools we use. Without the data we collect. We see the tools that Casa Carlos was talking about. And as part of it, of course, there are the tools but there is a culture the culture, the processes that we're establishing. This is the the dashboard that we gave to the artist Lucidea ago Yeah, as Cassi Tucker has mentioned before, so she also had the possibility to see and track the, the ways the other than the interactions with the audiences. And as part of other things that we're establishing, they're being also data scrims in the museum, to do to find ways to improve our digital assets or digital experience and the overall experience of visiting the museum. There is also this data newsletter for the workers at the museum so they can get a glimpse at what's happening. Depending on their their work, the work that they're doing at the museum, the departments and other of course data is used for a couple of things. So better understanding, doing better decision making, when for example, when you're going to send a newsletter or communicating regarding a event, you will know what has happened before and make decisions for the future. It can be a matter of a week, you will learn something one day or you will play it like the next couple of days and you will see results. So this is for continuous improvement in the way we work. We communicate and the real experience in our digital platforms, and also for syncing opportunities, I suppose because Cascara does mention, we had like an overview of the kind of audience we're talking to so we can better choose the way to talk with them. And the kind of projects the kind of dialogue would like to apply even the discourse then, so So this is it. I'm Karla saying that you would like to talk about the way of seeing the museum as information took a little about it with Western I

Unknown Speaker 39:15
mean, I think I think that's what we already said has to do with that I mean that we need to think of them assume as as information but not just as a single type of information, but as the information that it's built on the objects in the collection, as the systems that are required to be incorporated but also that allow us to work efficiently and in a streamlined way. And also about experience I mean about the storytelling we just completely different. Nobody is going to I mean, the audience or general audience is not going to go to an online collection to search for objects of perhaps well for a school lesson or or obviously researchers, but the people want to get experiences and for that you need all these systems built together and enable to interoperate them and to build stories that grab information for from different assets and build these narratives, which are not typical narratives. These are not linear narratives. They are built from different streams of information. It's a different type of narrative also, but I mean, these are the ways in which we see them assume us information.

Unknown Speaker 40:25
So we come to the digital world thinking and it was part of our digital strategy to extend our mission. Of course, reimagine the museum experience. This is not something new but how we do it. We do it in in Peru, as well because something very special, very special context with some limitations, some opportunities and a lot of work to do a lot of space as well to explore as an cultural institution using new means of communicating and reaching people outside of in Lima and outside of Lima. So with the capital, because Molly's is the museum which is based in in Lemass and has always deserved in a way his his community. And we're extending that by the use of the digital digital tools and digital world. So of course there are like three main things that are both important to keep in mind. Is like relating to new communities, of course, managing data, managing information creatively. And there is also a very important part of the work that we do at Malley that we're trying to recreate in the digital world. It's been an example of good museum practices, and bringing up the work of a community of museum workers, historians that are new, they're established and they know the work so the museum it's a platform for voices but also also for for professionals. So this is where study us article comes, which is a new project for project we are working on with the supporters from lecien Telefonica, which is a web site which is powered by the museum's database, from the collections on the archives, so in a way, you will have access to the museum's collections. But there's another type of work that's been done, as well as that we've been developing contents new contents, and we've been trying to curate create an ecosystem inside of these platforms where information communicate, so there are links things from the database like artworks, or biographies from Peruvian artists that we've been working on for the past month, that are related to other types of stories, or information or knowledge that we call stories. So stories there you can find into the into the platform. So the idea is to travel across all of these, you will do it in the museum and you will do it between the physical experience and the digital experience and recreate this in the platform. So at the moment, it is both a research project where there is a lot of content being created for the platform. We used to call it the encyclopedic platform. So we wanted to have like a whole world of knowledge into it, but also making it accessible, like understandable and relevant for our communities and our audiences. You will find as well and this is about to come in the next few months. The pieces from the collection as well as archaeological objects. And as we said in the in the way of making creating new new ways of of communicating this knowledge is information which related to interactive maps when for pre Hispanic cultures. So you you will have the possibility to navigate into the map and find these pre Hispanic spots on the map to see and learn more about it. So it's interactive. It it has this map and we will improve relate to the map we have like this. This comprehension of it and we like to use it. We like to see it everywhere. So we said let's let's use it as the starting point of this of this platform. And there's like two, two layers in the map. One for prey Spanish CART, and the other word for Amazonian art so you will have most of the base panic in the ghost and then the the Amazon in the other end. It's still undergoing it's an American project. But the idea is to show innovative ways to travel across across the database and of course studies or explanatory conceptual storage models, sometimes very personal entries regarding the rest of the information. So another layer of analysis of the museum, database and the museum's artwork and more. So the collection basically

Unknown Speaker 45:18
as I said before, this is a project and the museum as well. Through the digital projects. It works as a it holds a community of professionals who's been using Quire have been using the museum as a platform to get a career started to push innovative ideas. And so it mobilizes it uses a lot of human resources to create this this content. There are senior advisors their junior to mid level historians, their 15 senior art historians, archaeologists who are working at curating the contents that we are creating and of course there is the the team at the museum as we said before, so the archive collection specialists as the curators. So let's get back to our main challenges. And then we're going to open up the discussion with the path forward where we're looking to achieve and we're going so our main challenge is to get back on what we've said before or the first one probably it's managing to become a lean, leaner organization, where money come through grants for specific projects. So it's a very special way of working here in South America. Because we get we get money for this but I mean, there are both things to consider there are two things to consider is that people also changes Human Resources changing when when when the project's gone, the projects are gone, or we can through the projects and also our economical means to achieve greater development to achieve continuous improvement. There's also a very special thing happening in Peru and you've probably felt the same that is the the fact that we have to develop partnerships with digital intrapreneurs with developers and others by means of creating a greater intersectoral collaboration so of creating like a ecosystem, a collaborative culture, where we can all share knowledge and best practices regarding museums and regarding digital development. And there is also this particular point that is being always aware of accessibility and relevance of our digital content, but also our digital platform so we can do something that you will not be able to open up in other places of Peru because of infrastructural conditions or problems. So the path forward regarding building digital capabilities at Mali, in particular is experimenting and learning within the limits of our technological infrastructure and human resources, as I just said, because of the MANY things we've seen just before we are looking forward to become a hub for collaboration between the art world and the digital factors. So create something new, where we can create like a new space of knowledge and a culture of collaboration where where the digital sector and the digital entrepreneurs will understand our needs or requirements. And there is something that is something that that we have just seen through our projects. It is very heartwarming if you want to save these ways to see that the developers you're working on during the past year are starting to understand how the new theme things as well as help the museum workers start to learn how the digital intrapreneurs things as well. And of course, there's always these understanding through data analysis, and of our public willingness and capacity to access our digital platforms. And the content were working on. So I think this is for us. We are ready to open up the discussion and read some of the questions you have wrote in the chat box. So do you see them because Carlos and just gonna

Unknown Speaker 49:52
Yes, yes, yes. Um, yeah, I mean, there is just one question is this Peruvian origin directory available it will be available online in the next early I mean, month or so perhaps? Yeah. I mean, and it's an Yeah. We, Raphael was also mentioned in it. It's a work of MANY professionals to build the best possible information in terms of quality. Also, because I mean, the museum though, it wasn't, I mean, very much offline. Its quality has been always amazing. So I mean, everything academically speaking particularly and its publications. Now we have to get that same quality into the digital realm. We I mean, we can we can not neglect quality. That's one of the issues that we've been always prioritizing in All in all though, for the work of the museum.

Unknown Speaker 50:54
There isn't another one Have you any experience in immersive exhibitions? I'd like to know more about what the meaning of immersive it is, because we can go to VR or what we shouldn't be for the digitization of our galleries. It's the further we've done and showing 3d models or galleries. We haven't tried VR so far because of COVID, of course, but you'll come one day. And I don't know if that answered the question.

Unknown Speaker 51:30
And when we did these immersive things 3d It was also a way for us of experimenting something that we never tried before. So it's, we first we analyze, we benchmark two or three platforms before deciding to work with one of them. And I mean, we are constantly testing things we I mean once more the paradigm of the museum as a static thing is over. We are trying to give a very refreshing way of delivering content. And and we also I mean, we also work with Google art and culture. So I mean, there are MANY ways in which people may access the content so this was just one way. I don't think that MANY of us, I mean, MANY of us we compare the 3d experience with the real experience. Of course, the real experience is way better in MANY respects is once more enables access to people that come from different parts of the world. Plus, I mean, there is this question which I like to answer about trying to provide access to people that have limited broke but bad bandwidth. I think that yes, if you have the content you may work with, with TV stations. National national, the national radio and TV for example. So I mean, they they are other possibilities of of engaging, if you have the content if you have the content, you can think about TV radio, so it's it's also the non digital platforms that allow to transmit knowledge to different audiences, either physically, radio, TV, but those platforms needs to be general needs to be articulated to generate Unison experiences in our audiences. But idea that's what that's why the idea of platform is not a technical but it's also cultural platform must generate access to open up the dialog. So I mean, we mean we were thinking about let's say, we saw some spikes of of content that was generated through the online, online, k 12. Program, national program. So we realized that some of our content was being used by the by the teachers, and we thought okay, that's great, but perhaps we may produce with them some kind of TV program about those contents. So I mean, we I mean, we have the content the the way in which we can show it it's it's it doesn't need to be on the online, especially in certain areas that provide access is limited in the Amazon, for example is quite limited. You need to think they're on a on an offline transmedia perspective.

Unknown Speaker 54:23
Yes, in a very practical way, probably and we do always do hard decisions or decisions thinking about accessibility in terms of limited bandwidth. We've done it with studies as well, at the beginning, we're thinking about very complex interaction interactive, online. We're gathering examples from other museums. And then we've told between us and with the developers, and we came to the conclusion that MANY people will be able to enjoy the experience because of that. So we keep it we try to keep it simple, and to move in relation of development of digital in Guru, and we would like to be part of this digital transformation, transformation and the giving of capabilities. To the to audiences at large and through events at large. So I'll end with that word. I think we're coming along. Our, our session is, is there any other question you would like to to ask? Because the girl has something else to add,

Unknown Speaker 55:35
um, you just add to that, I mean, you should. I mean, we invite you all to take a look at the website is not just the website. As a as a as a website, but it has also these other technologies embedded to it. I mean, so take a look at the website and the services and we'll be happy also. I mean, you have any questions at some stage we'll love to to share our ideas with with you. Of course, we want people to come to Peru. That's the thing. Last Last year, of course, I mean, they put so much money into advertising to visit Peru. But I tell you, you put 10% of that money into exhibitions, digital experiences, and you will have more audiences more people coming to bro to any other country. I mean, exhibitions, digital or physical they close the gap between the audience and the actual real experience. Of course, advertising is important. It makes that I mean, it connects up in a more efficient way, but you need a lot of money for that. And countries like Peru cannot compete perhaps with I don't know, the Arab Emirates or Egypt I don't know but the thing is that we may be able to compete with content with quality of content. So that's that's that's, that's the answer to the last comment about that. It's you get excited to visit Peru. That's part of the aim. Yeah, of course.

Unknown Speaker 57:14
Yes. So I'd like to thank you all for defending our presentation, our session. And I think we could call it today. I will stop sharing my screen. First, and I don't know if crystal would like to call up the meeting of we can just leave the session. Thank you, Cindy.

Unknown Speaker 57:44
Thank you so much. Rafi and Jose. Have a great day everyone.

Unknown Speaker 57:48