Virtual exhibition strategy: Leveraging digital to highlight new voices and expanded content

Ryan Waggoner; Jennifer Talbott; Elizabeth Kanost; Joey Orr; Cassandra Mesick Braun. How can we include new voices in interpretation? This session will address this question with thoughts on the strategy behind the Spencer Museum’s new approach to online exhibition content. Using a flexible web template to create virtual exhibitions that are not exact replicas of in-gallery offerings has allowed for sharing content beyond what is created by curators and educators. This new strategy also facilitates virtual-only exhibitions developed collaboratively with external partners. Track:Leadership & Strategy


Unknown Speaker 06:12
I'm so pleased that you all could join us today as we discussed together a virtual exhibition strategies and the lessons we learned in pivoting to only digital exhibitions while closed during the pandemic. My name is Jennifer Talbott and I am the Deputy Director for operations and innovation at the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, which is just a few miles west of Kansas City. My pronouns are she her hers, and I am a white woman of average height with long straight brown hair, green eyes and today I'm wearing a navy blue and white polka dotted dress with a mustard mustard color cardigan. Spencer Museum of Art occupies the land and has long been the ancestral homelands of indigenous people, many of whom continued to Maine and during relationships to the land. Over the past year, a group of faculty staff and students at the University of Kansas have been working with native stakeholders to draft a meaningful and appropriate appropriate land acknowledgement that can respectfully shared in a formal setting like this. In the meantime, the Spencer museum affirms indigenous sovereignty supports native communities and recognizes the dynamic contributions they make to our society. I'd like to share with every one today a few community guidelines that we like to use in the museum when we're participating in dialogues. So and we'll be doing that at about the halfway mark when we open up for questions. So are things that we'd like to remind everyone is to remember to be an active and compassionate listener. give everyone the space for expression, lean into discomfort and practice lean speech. Aaron, could you please show our poll for everyone right now we're gonna do a quick poll here. Which of the following best describes your role department in the museum field? As we find out about a little about who you are, I'm honored to introduce the Spencer team that is part of who was part of creating our virtual exhibitions. On our panel today, two of our curators Casey Mesick Braun and Joey Orr, and two of our designers and editor, editors. Elizabeth Kanost, Director of External Affairs in Ryan Waggoner, Director of Creative Services. Our format today will be a series of questions and for a team followed by a q&a with everyone joining us at the end. So let's start with why did we do this, the most obvious and one of one that has impacted us all was the covid 19 pandemic. we closed our doors in March 2020, along with the rest of the world and didn't open up again until November 2020, with a much reduced capacity only at about 5%. But the element within our control in an overall museum strategic goal is that we wanted to continue to work and add more voices to all of our exhibitions and programs. Building a flexible exhibition template has proven to strengthen our curatorial and programming work with our communities, our faculty, students, artists and researchers here and throughout the nation and world. As we started developing the template, we also started to ask ourselves, how can we make this fit many types of projects, the pandemic certainly forced our hands and moving to completely virtual platforms for over six months. But we also wanted to create something that would have a life beyond the pandemic. So though we started with virtual only exhibitions, we could we created a template in a way that allowed future digital exhibitions to serve as a companion exhibition to the in person exhibition. As you will hear from more more from Ryan and Casey about that, but we also have made a template in a flexible enough format to incorporate various content formats like for programming research and audience voices, as you will hear a little bit more from Joey and Elizabeth. So we're going to start out, I'm going to ask our team a series of questions, and they're going to respond to those and then we'll, we'll follow up with the questions after that. So Ryan, would you start us off? How did the museum's current strategy for virtual exhibitions develop?

Unknown Speaker 10:26
Yeah, thanks so much, Jen. And it looks like the majority of folks who have joined us today have answered our poll. So I'm gonna go ahead. Oh, it looks like maybe, yep, just ended perfect. So thank you all for filling that out. It's nice to see who's in the room. So my name is Ryan Waggoner. I'm the director of Creative Services at the Spencer Museum of Art. The pronouns that I use are he him and his, and I'm a white man of average height with curly dark hair, and today I'm wearing a blue collared shirt. So as Jen said, the focus of our session today is going to be on the strategy behind our virtual exhibitions. And with these projects, we have been aiming to do two things to create a substantive virtual exhibition in collaboration with external partners, and to develop and also to develop virtual companion exhibitions for select shows that we install in our physical spaces. This represents a significant shift in our thinking about how we've presented exhibition content online in the past, we are now looking to imagine virtual exhibitions as a wholly separate experience, so that even if you come and see an exhibition in person, you could follow that up with a virtual experience that would be unique, and offer engaging engagement opportunities that could only be presented digitally. So nothing that we're going to discuss today is particularly earth shattering from a technical standpoint. And that is really by design, we were looking to take advantage of the fact that our website is built on a content management system, we use Drupal. And we work closely with our part time web developer to design a sustainable template that can be used from start to finish by non developer members of our staff. And for us, and many others, I'm sure that is pretty much our entire staff. So the screenshots you're seeing here on the left, show the back end of this exhibition template with all the data fields and page configuration that we can use. And then on the right hand side, you see how that information displays on the front end, we knew that this approach of using a template was really the only way that we could sustain this work. And in turn, this has allowed us to be more nimble and responsive with our web content than ever before. However, this also meant that building the first virtual exhibition, and by default building, our template was quite challenging and time consuming. But because we had the goal in mind from the beginning, that this would be something that we could use over and over, we felt it was well worth that time investment upfront. And we were also careful along the way to allow for lots of customization so that each subsequent exhibition could feel unique. So all five of the screenshots that you're seeing on the slide now, were built with this one single template. But you can see that within the template, there are a lot of options for customization about how works of art are displayed. style choices, image size, and placement, so on. So while this strategy was developed out of necessity, at the beginning of the pandemic, we have found lasting benefit even now that we've been able to reopen our physical spaces, we've been able to solidify our strategy about how we're presenting exhibition content online, we've learned that when taking the approach of using a template, the barrier to entry is much lower, which has allowed us to more easily say yes, when new opportunities present themselves. We've realized as well that the timeline for completion on a project like this is drastically shorter than any physical exhibition that we might install in our spaces. And we now understand that to achieve this goal of presenting unique online companions for physical exhibitions, we must leverage the unique capabilities of digital. And for us that is meant sharing things like expanded label copy that can not be presented in the galleries, embedded Media related to works of art on view, and putting objects in conversation with one another in ways that we could not do in our physical spaces. So we have now launched seven virtual exhibitions since last March, two that have served as companions to physical exhibitions in our galleries, and five virtual only exhibitions. We are excited about continuing to develop this work, as we've already seen that these virtual exhibitions can be a platform to not only engage, but also collaborate with the academic communities that we serve. And we'll talk a bit more about that later. And we also see this strategy as a way to bring new voices into our interpretation efforts. And we'll discuss that more in a bit as well. For now, I want to pose a follow up question two, my colleague Elizabeth Kanost. Elizabeth, could you talk to us about the work that is required to make these happen, especially thinking about things like the internal collaboration, coordination and collaboration among museum departments that is required.

Unknown Speaker 15:01
Yeah. Thanks, Ryan. Good morning, or good afternoon, everyone. My name is Elizabeth Kanost. And I'm the director of External Affairs at the Spencer Museum of Art, I use she her pronouns. I am a short white woman with shoulder length dirty blonde hair with bangs, have green eyes, and today I'm wearing a floral print shirt. So I suppose the first thing to note about collaboration workflow on virtual exhibitions is that it's really not that different from collaboration that happens for a physical exhibition. The one distinction would sort of be subbing in web developers for exhibition designers. But especially once we had this template complete, our process looked very similar. So there would be a content lead, which is typically a curator. But sometimes, as you'll see, in later examples, an external partner, then Ryan and myself, along with our interpretation and Education team would work with that content lead to identify featured objects for the virtual exhibition, and the content that complements those selections or allows a deeper dive in some way. And as Ryan said, a lot of times, this content is able to be presented through formats that we don't have available in the gallery like embedded audio and video or External links to an artist website. Once we have an idea of the content, we work with our graphic designer to help us pick template colors and layouts that are the best fit for the chosen content. But again, to make this a sustainable process, and something that doesn't require a lot of web development, we have a limited range of options that we are choosing from any text goes through an editing process to adhere to museum styles and ensure accessibility and unbiased language. And then before the virtual exhibition goes live, we have each of the individuals involved, sign off saying yes, this looks good, there are no issues, let's publish it. So this slide is to demonstrate that while the template is set up so that many people on staff can use it without having web development experience experience, it does require a lot of manual input. So the content that you end up seeing on the screen has been pasted in. And there are many rounds of proofing to ensure formatting is correct and consistent. So on the right hand side of this slide, you see the first tab filling in content for just one of those images that showing up and Ryan, if you can go to the next slide, these additional screens are still on that one object filling in more information that's going to show up so you can imagine there's a lot of double checking manual entry on the back end, and then also making sure it's showing up correctly. And I think again, comparing this to a physical exhibition, this is very similar to the proofing of wall labels, or other interpretive content that goes into a gallery. But there's some added features to check like making sure hyperlinks are going to the right

Unknown Speaker 17:50
place. Great, thank you, Elizabeth and Ryan. And so that's a little bit about the process and the the some of the back end of what we were doing. But Casey next question is for you. How does thinking about exhibitions in a virtual rather than in person format change that impact curatorial decision

Unknown Speaker 18:13
making has had

Unknown Speaker 18:16
Yeah, thanks, Jennifer. And good afternoon, everyone. My name is Casey Mesick Braun and I'm the curator of global indigenous art at the Spencer museum. My preferred pronouns are she her, I'm a white woman with curly dark blonde hair, clear framed glasses, and today I'm wearing a dark grey shirt. So prior to the pandemic, I had been working on the exhibition healing knowing seeing the body and the image on the screen here provides a glimpse of one of the installed galleries after the in person exhibition opened in February of 2021. The pandemic changed plans for this exhibition though, and I was managing its shifting timeline at the same time that the museum began experimenting with virtual exhibitions. So Ryan and I had talked about some preliminary ideas, and then decided to create an online companion version of healing knowing seeing the body. And this slide shows screenshots of each of those sort of landing pages for main sections of the exhibition which visitors to the website could navigate to directly from the homepage. But from the outset, from those initial conversations with Ryan, I conceived of the virtual exhibition as a companion to the in person version, one that would complement and enrich the gallery and still installation but wouldn't seek to replicate the experience of being in the galleries. I felt that virtual exhibitions could never fully mimic what a visitor would encounter in person. The intentional arrangement of art in an architectural space a sense of scale, dramatic lighting sightlines Opportunity is for unexpected discoveries. And these these shots on the screen here, hint at some of those experiences that visitors would have encountered. Now that said, I do want to mention briefly that we did use matterport software to offer visitors to the online exhibition and opportunity to virtually move through the spaces so that some of these encounters could be understood and the connections and relationships between the ways the works were installed in the galleries. But really, my goal was to

Unknown Speaker 20:35
highlight how virtual exhibitions can offer opportunities that in person exhibitions can't, and I really wanted to take full advantage of those. So to draw on the strengths of the virtual platform, I first considered how many works of art from the gallery iteration I wanted to include. This screenshot demonstrates how we presented images and interpretive content for a single work of art. And to do this for all the works in the show there were more than 150 would have required more scrolling and clicking than seemed feasible from a user experience standpoint. So in considering what art to include, I found that I use very different parameters for the virtual platform. The first question I asked was, how well will this object translate to an online format, because it turns out that the physical presence and legibility of art is very different when it's mediated by a screen. For example, these four prints by Olga being are subtle, but very detail laden in person, but they were really washed out and difficult to see on a monitor, so I chose not to include them in the virtual format. Another question that I asked myself was, what objects have content that I can't incorporate into a gallery space. The image on this slide, if we could advance to the next one, Ryan, thank you. The image on this slide of two pieces by Holland hudak includes contextualizing information for multiple objects, buttons to access labels that did appear in the galleries, as well as links to view additional photographs, listen to portions of an artist interview and explore the artists own website. And then finally, I thought about how audiences might use a virtual exhibition compared to an in gallery exhibition. Because of the pandemic, I anticipated that our audience would include many people who might not be able to visit galleries in person because of public health mandates or their own comfort levels. And as a campus Art Museum, I felt a responsibility to meet the needs of university students and faculty who were eager to engage with works of art. So these three collaborative works, works on paper, which received kind of a lot of attention and space in the virtual format. Were co created with faculty members in England, and here at k u, as well as former students and I felt like they had a ready made audience that I knew would be important for teaching at universities on two continents. They're also relevant to many different disciplines, ensuring that it wasn't only visual art or art history students, students who might find meaning in this virtual exhibition. So this is a very brief overview of some of my curatorial thinking and decision making, but I'd be happy to answer any questions later. Thank you.

Unknown Speaker 23:26
Thank you, Casey. And we're gonna hear from our last person on our team, Joey Orr. How can collaborators influence the direction of museum exhibitions and programs and virtual forms?

Unknown Speaker 23:39
Thanks, Jen, and good to see everyone. Good afternoon. My name is Joey Orr. I'm curator for research and I lead the integrated arts Research Initiative at the Spencer Museum of Art. I use he him pronouns. I'm a white man with light brown hair and glasses, hazel eyes, and I'm wearing a patterned buttoned up shirt. I want to begin by underscoring something that Casey said, which is that a virtual presentation of images and information is not an exhibition, which is an embodied sensory spatial phenomenological experience. The integrated arts Research Initiative is a program that makes an effort to not privilege the visual. So we think of exhibitions as just one component of an inquiry that also uses lectures, roundtables, screenings, performances, hikes, and many other formats some of what you see depicted here in the slide. Therefore turning a dynamic program that straddles formats into a web page and Zoom program, especially during a time of extreme Zoom fatigue was a completely depressing proposition. So we began to ask what the format's could offer that the program actually needed. And this was time for our contributors to be with each other's ideas before gathering and this is also something we can take with into the future, even as we begin to gather physically get one big question we struggled with was, could the direction of the inquiry be guided by the contributions themselves? And how could this happen in a digital space? So the image you're seeing now is one of the first images on the digital inquiry page by artists Zoo on Oh, it's from her series, the PP, we all need its device for spooning big spoon. And that was followed by an Andrew Yang's video, how to wash your hands. And so both of these works like sort of right out of the gate, we're dealing with topical issues from the like, ever changing days of the early pandemic. Then each successive collaborator added contributions in conversation with what had previously shaped the page, and even suggesting where their contributions might be situated amidst the unfolding text, audio, and moving and still images. So this is one example of Daria Robledo, who appeared in my colleague Casey's exhibition healing knowing seeing the body where we actually sent recording equipment to his studio, and through Zoom, recorded the audio and then compiled the video to discuss the work in the exhibition. And then another example is a local artist Mona cliff, who was making this brilliant new piece of sculpture this on sort of beaded gasmask, dealing with indigenous future isms. And this is something that just happened to be going on in our local context that we were able to immediately include because of the digital format. And then finally, the recorded Zoom program became a document of a conversation among many of the contributors, future readers will encounter on the page. And so it begins to be actually in conversation with all of the other contributions instead of the sort of recorded Zoom thing that has very little meaning outside of any other context. And so the next question that we're dealing with now is, can we think about these digital inquiries and how they might lead to a kind of new interactive digital museum publication format?

Unknown Speaker 27:12
Thank you, Joey. And then to build upon that. Elizabeth, can you share some examples of how else we have used the strategy to incorporate new voices into the museum curation interpretation process?

Unknown Speaker 27:26
Yeah, so we've done a few virtual exhibitions with other departments at the University of Kansas. And this new platform has really allowed those partnerships to be more robust. So this first example is a collaboration with the Department of African and African American studies to create a virtual exhibition celebrating the department's 50th anniversary at KSU. It was originally planned to be an in gallery exhibition in our Learning Center. And that wasn't possible because we were closed at that point during the pandemic. But the virtual format actually allowed us to do way more than we could have done in the gallery. For example, we could show digital loans from other campus campus institutions, as you see on the top right, that's from our one of our libraries on campus, so loans were a lot easier. Additionally, we could display light sensitive works on paper without having to worry about the amount of time that they were going to be on view. And finally, another special feature was that the label content for this virtual exhibition incorporated research done by students in African and African American studies classes, so it was a nice opportunity to incorporate student work into an exhibition. Similarly, we did an exhibition, a virtual exhibition with the Department of our history to accompany a virtual symposium that they were hosting. Once again, this was originally planned to be in our Learning Center physically, but we were able virtually to show many more objects than we would have originally been able to in that space, including textiles that are large or fragile. This was also a really important way for us to follow through with our commitments and support a campus partner in a virtual format as they were transitioning their symposium to a virtual format. Then one last example is that each spring we host a small installation on site of work created by students that selected by a jury of their peers. And because of this virtual exhibition template, we were able to still host this show in 2020 and 2021. To give the creative work of students that special spotlight and as the other examples that you've seen, because the works were represented here as photographs, we were able to incorporate submissions of all mediums and sizes including as you see in the top right and installation work. And also large sculpture. Usually when we do this student juried show in person we have to limit the size of Because of the space that's available. So I think that all of these examples show that there is a formula or sort of a pattern that we can easily repeat when we want to collaborate with a group on virtual exhibitions. But to ensure that we arrive at a solution that everyone is happy with, and that fits within the parameters of this platform we've built, it's really crucial to define expectations with partners early on, so that there aren't questions or requests that come up last minute and lead to disappointment, if it's not something that we can, that's feasible for us to do. And one last point is that from all of the examples we've shown you today, you can see that not only are the types of content that we use this template for, almost limitless, but this also really allows us to open up opportunities for including a variety of voices within the museum's exhibition.

Unknown Speaker 30:51
Thank you, Elizabeth. So thank you, everybody, for sharing some of our perspectives and experiences. We're going to open it up to questions for the audience. Now, you can raise your hand unmute yourself, or we've already got a couple of questions in the chat. So we'll we'll start with those. Allison little D, do you want to speak? Or I can read your your? Your question to? Sorry,

Unknown Speaker 31:18
you've caught me mid mouthful of macaroni and cheese.

Unknown Speaker 31:20
Oh, excellent. It is it is the lunch hour. Apologies.

Unknown Speaker 31:25
I'm happy to repeat it. Thank you everyone for speaking them. This is a fascinating, and very timely presentation. I'm just gonna come on camera here. Hi. I'm at the archives of Ontario up in Toronto. So Hi, everyone. And we also do virtual exhibitions, we have a lot going on, but really great to hear of the template that you've come up with. And my question was, what did your exhibitions look like? online? If you had any version of them beforehand? And apologies if you just speak to that briefly. But what did they look like beforehand? And how did you in addition to the pandemic, creating the circumstances, how did you get institutional buy in to get the resources and, you know, funding budget allocation to support the infrastructure changes, but also the, you know, the staff just changing WordPress C's to enable that change and like the workflow change to start working with a template and make quite a lot of changes to actually start using that kind of template from what was there before?

Unknown Speaker 32:27
Yeah, excellent. All of those things. I think like in terms of what we did have, we had like just snippets about what our exhibitions were on our main website. And we continue to do that just to get like an overview, but we really didn't have robust digital exhibitions before this time. And another thing that we did during the pandemic, I don't know if other people have experienced with this, we've done matterport exhibitions where we did 360 views of the galleries, and we put those on and put some labels on. So we experimented with a couple of different things in terms of getting buy in. I don't know about all of you, but when everything closed down, we were all in a panic and you know, deer in headlights type of thing. And we just tried to regroup. And we worked really hard within the first few weeks trying to figure out what we were going to do. And it became really apparent too, that we were going to need something for the Audubon exhibition, because we were almost 100% certain we were not going to be able to allow anybody in. And so thankfully, we have support of the university IT department on campus, and we have a halftime developer that's dedicated to the Spencer. And he was really eager to to try to work out something. So we just started meeting regularly. And it was kind of a grassroots attempt to get something going. And then as we started developing it, we realized that we were on to something that was going to be really useful for our future two, but you know, I'll let somebody else speak to this. We're not sure what the exact future of all of this is, because we you know, in terms of having the companion exhibition for Casey's, it was fantastic, and it really did reach more of an audience. But as you can tell the the resources that labor labor resources that go into making these digital exhibitions are not small. And so we we need to find out the balance between what we do in person versus virtual and how we're going to combine all of those. I had same backup question maybe just a little bit of answer this to do. In terms of the future. We we do have an opportunity coming up. We're going to be redoing our website and we are working Hard to connect a lot of our collection database to our websites. So we don't have to do redundancy of content entry. And we have some of that right now in our applications that we have our online collection is attached to an API on our collection database. And we hope that maybe we can make this exhibition template a little bit more efficient if we could do some of that linking to in the future. So anybody else want to say anything about that?

Unknown Speaker 35:31
Yeah, I'll just add a couple points really quickly if the rest of my colleagues don't mind? Thanks, Alison. That's a great question. I think the other thing that we really had to do out of necessity, I mean, one surefire way to get buy in is to not ask for money, right, like so we, we really did everything we could to work within what we already had in place, we are fortunate that we do have a halftime developer on staff, I think, for an institution of our size, that's somewhat unusual. So that person was in place, but what it meant was kind of shifting priorities significantly, because this work required 100% of that halftime position to accomplish. And so we knew that we had to just kind of work within the bounds that we already had. I do wonder if Casey maybe wanted to speak to this a little bit, too, because I think the other part of that question that's really important to consider is like, even if you're working on a shoestring budget, if you're asking somebody kind of at the last minute to develop a whole new portion of their exhibition, which in Casey's case she'd been researching for years. How do you do that? So Casey, I'd be curious if you have any thoughts on what it was like when we came to you with this idea, and how it fit into your existing workload and capacity?

Unknown Speaker 36:44
Yeah, thanks, Ryan. And, you know, hinted at this a tiny bit in my response, and I, you know, I think Joey could speak to it as well. The The only reason I think that I was able to dedicate the time to creating a virtual exhibition that I was really proud of, and that I felt was adding something and really contributing, contributing something important was because of the delay in my exhibition, so you know, my show is supposed to open in August of 2021, that deadline got pushed back six months, and while our staff and everyone else was, you know, rapidly, kind of shifting and trying to figure out what their their professional lives looked like, and what how their work was going to need to change as a result of the pandemic. I did have some extra time, built into that schedule. And, you know, I felt really lucky to have the people specifically on this panel with me, Ryan, Joey, you know, Elizabeth, to kind of talk through ideas and challenges, you know, the the inquiry that Joey mentioned, the tending to the body that he spoke to, I mean, we were also in conversation about how that was gonna look. So there was a lot of internal dialogue, I think, amongst our staff about how can we make this work, and also not compromises per se, but you know, I had ideas about something. And that meant actually having conversations with Matt, our part time developer about, can we actually make this work from the back end with very little time, no resources. So it was, you know, a lot of a lot of back and forth. But I think in the, you know, in the future and thinking about the sustainability of projects like this, one of my things is, we've opened the store that I don't know how to shut at this point, our audiences really seem to be responding to the virtual exhibition. And as I, as a curator, you know, look through workflows for future exhibitions. I'm already thinking about, how am I going to need to shift that timeline to build this in if this is going to be something that were that we're doing From now on, but it was not as simple as just here's a label for this object. Here's a photograph for this object, put it on a website. That's really not how I was conceiving these. So I think the short answer to your question, Ryan is the general chaos of it know, the spring and summer of 2020. kind of helped in that regard.

Unknown Speaker 39:18
Yeah, and we're having lots of discussions to about how to incorporate this, we have a project checklist that we go through, and we've inserted some of this into the timeline. And so the question comes up a little bit earlier, whether or not this is something that the curator is going to want to have with with their exhibition. Or if we would encourage it to be part of it because like Casey said, it's been really wonderful and we've had really great reception with with doing both of them. Okay, I'm Kira peacock Do you want to ask Your question or would I can read it too high?

Unknown Speaker 40:03
Yeah, I can ask it. Essentially, my question was, I was wondering how many digital assets you had at hand and how much you needed to, I'm going to use the word scramble. I don't know if you actually scrambled but in my imagination, you're scrambling to get images and, and Metadata, I was our experiences we really relied on on things we already had at hand. But then now that has transitioned into having like a more intentional asset creation. So I just wanted to know what your experience was in that regard.

Unknown Speaker 40:42
Yeah, I can speak to this a little bit and then open it up to anyone else. So again, we we are fortunate that we have about 90% of our collection digitized. So we were at a good starting point for existing images of works of art. Beyond that most of the content that we present on these pages was either newly developed or I think one strategy that really worked well for us was was spending time finding external content that already existed that was relevant to the topic at hand. So pretty much all the pages that we've looked at leverage that to an extent whether it was linked to an artist website, or here's a great article that was written on that just because we didn't have the time to develop those types of things ourselves. And that, to me, I think is what really speaks to the success of these projects is that in a digital format, we can, you know, for lack of a better word, we can get away with that we can link to things that other people have already done, we don't always have to reinvent the wheel. I think that's another way to work within the capacity that you may or may not have to build things like this. And Joey, I'd love to hear a little bit from you, if you don't mind to speak about your inquiry because that content was all brand new.

Unknown Speaker 41:51
I mean, yes, and no. So it's interesting when you when you talk about the scramble, because, you know, for the program that I run, I'm generally dealing with exhibitions, and programming sort of all together. And so I'm accumulating image and text and, and all kinds of things as I'm building toward it. And so there, what we, what I didn't have before, was a way to share that with all of the other contributors until they actually came to the University. So what had happened in the past is all of these different people are coming together for about a week. And they're learning about each other at the exact moment, we're putting them in conversation. And so this actually allowed a lot of content and idea sharing, that was super helpful when trying to develop like the programmatic aspects of it. And then it was, I would say, it was even less of a scramble and more of an opportunity. Once I had a digital space, then like I mentioned the work of Mona cliff, like I did, I didn't have her work on my mind, because she hadn't made it until like the moment we were doing it. And suddenly she was willing, and we had this opportunity. And she was able to be folded into that. That bigger dialogue, which was amazing. For me, I my scramble, and everyone's talking about how to design was so easy because of the template. But from my perspective, I worked with a designer, and we were constantly trying to do workarounds, you know, like, we need this color, but the colors not available in template. So what do we do? You know, I don't want a tumbler or a slinky format, because I don't want my page to look like every other page. And I also don't want to develop a rhythm that's going to put the viewer in to sleep. And so that that to me was the design was more of a challenge to me than

Unknown Speaker 43:45
Yeah, thank you. Thank you, Joey. And so there's a couple new questions from Danielle. And Abby, and they kind of relate a little bit. Ryan, can you talk a little bit more about our matterport experience? That was kind of a new adventure that we hadn't done before?

Unknown Speaker 44:03
Yes, absolutely. Thank you for both those questions. And I love how they came one right after the other, connected to one another. So nice work. Yeah, so we used so Casey referenced a 360 walkthrough that we developed as well. So we use matterport. To develop this. That was a decision we made pretty early on after our gallery is closed. We did it all in house, we did not work with an external vendor, we purchased a $1,000 360 camera and did all the image captures with that. I handled that myself. And then we built the spaces out and I collaborated some other folks on staff so that what we ended up with like and get signed in here is really as close as we could come to a one to one experience of walking into our galleries. So within the 360 model, we use their Mater tag feature to add object labels. So that's an example of what you see here. And we can also link to external content as well. I'm happy to speak more about that offline. If you want some more details on how we did the technical side, I will just say briefly matterport, in my experience has been a super easy platform to work with. And it is pretty, pretty simple to pick up if you have some basic experience. And I would love to have my colleague Elizabeth speak a little bit to the next question about how do we kind of handle the messaging between a space like this? That's like this 360 walkthrough in our virtual exhibition pages?

Unknown Speaker 45:33
Yeah, thanks, Ryan. So I think this is a, excuse me a great question that it was, how have you explained the difference between a virtual 360 degree tour versus a virtual exhibition to audiences? I would say first, since we haven't been doing it for that long, it's still something that we're working on finding the best way to explain. But I think that, you know, when we are talking about this matterport type experience, we tried to describe it as, like, virtual 3d, what like a 3d walkthrough or a 360 walkthrough to try to get at the fact that it's, you know, something like Google Earth. And for on our I put links in the chat earlier to show the difference between a standard exhibition page, versus what we're looking at right now is the healing knowing seeing the body virtual exhibition experience. And so on the standard exhibition page, we have a link that says, I think the verb is experienced, or maybe explore, explore the virtual exhibition. So we sort of try to make these subtle distinctions between each type of experience, I think we're definitely and you know, sometimes in a social post, or in our E news that goes out to people, we would have a link that goes directly to the 3d walkthrough or directly to the virtual exhibition with a little bit of context, sort of explaining what types of things you could experience in the virtual exhibition. Whereas the 3d walkthrough is really, you can, you can navigate, and you can click on extended label content, and that sort of the two things you can do. So I think, giving people an idea of what they can experience when they're going into either of these formats, is helpful if you have the room to provide that context, and whatever your communication is. But definitely something we can improve on in the future as we start doing this more frequently.

Unknown Speaker 47:33
You, Elizabeth and Ryan, and for your question, Abby. So we have about two and a half minutes left. So we can maybe do one more short question. But I also want to say thank you, too, for everybody for joining us today. And we can continue talking on Slack. And we are also available for questions. And Ryan, I think is about ready to pop up all of our contact information. We're all on our website to pretty easy to find on the Spencer Museum of Art website. So we would definitely welcome any of your experiences in hearing about that. And because we're we're still learning, and we're trying to move this forward. You know, this, this is a strategy section of the ncn conference. So we're we're really trying to learn as we go to,

Unknown Speaker 48:27
if I could just share a wrap up thought in the, in the absence of any other questions. If I'm missing something, let me know. But the the question that we were planning to wrap up with, if we needed to fill some more time was kind of what is what is the future of this strategy for us? And what is the future, I think for the field in general. A couple quick thoughts. I'll just share on that one I kind of hinted to in the chat. I think the first question that any of us have to ask is how do we how do we sustain this effort with the same capacity that we had before? So we're all moving back to somewhat of a more standard operating procedure in a sense, but as Casey said, the doors open now, can we close it? Do we want to close it? If we do, how are we going to do that? That's one of the questions that we're wrestling with right now. And then I would say for us internally, we've we've been engaged with Project museums empowered project in the last couple years about engaging more of our local communities and reaching out to underrepresented folks. That to me feels like the most pressing question. Next is we've talked about we have the capacity now to incorporate new voices. But what is the model that's actually going to work for both parties for something like that? Because I think we know that the desire is there. But I don't know if we're quite yet ready to step into that in a really engaged capacity. And so what does that model going to look like?

Unknown Speaker 49:47
I think that that's right at time. Thank you, everybody. Enjoy the rest of the conference in your day.

Unknown Speaker 49:53
Thanks, everyone.

Unknown Speaker 49:54
Thank you all so much. It's nice to see your names and faces