Title:Launching the MFA Multimedia Guide: Lessons Learned
Authors:Jenna Fleming, Phil Getchell, Jesse Kochis
Publication:MW2011: Museums and the Web 2011

For the opening of the Museum's new Art of the Americas wing, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston embarked upon a sweeping new program to transform the traditional audio guide into a new iPod Touch-based multimedia guide. This ambitious endeavor was fraught with challenges as diverse as managing content production at a new scale and determining how to reliably charge 750 devices at a time. 

In this session, MFA New Media team members will share lessons learned from our large-scale project, including points such as: 

  • Strategy - determining the best direction for our visitors and institution
  • Planning and evaluation - prototype testing of content and the device
  • Offerings - features and tours (adult, kids, foreign language, special exhibition, and audio described guides)
  • Content production - moving production in house while still leveraging experts
  • CMS - selecting and enhancing the guide content management solution
  • Updating content - crafting a solution for making content updates manageable
  • Security - protecting the investment
  • Equipment - cases, headphones, lanyards, chargers and more
  • Operations - managing workflow, training, and rental and return
  • Future growth - where we'll be heading next

The MFA uses TAP as the CMS, with a modified/customized TAP app as the user interface. We use the Nous case and a homegrown charging solution.