Title:Participatory Experiences in Art Museums: Lessons from Two Years of Practice
Authors:Silvia Filippini Fantoni, Kyle Jaebker, Tiffany Leason
Publication:Museums and the Web 2014: Selected Papers from Two International Conferences
Editors:Nancy Proctor and Rich Cherry
Publisher:Museums and the Web LLC
Published:Silver Spring

In an effort to fulfill its mission of developing new audiences, engaging visitors in innovative ways, and providing opportunities to include visitors’ voices in the museum experience, the Indianapolis Museum of Art has developed a number of analog and technology-based participatory projects in the past few years. These included a simple vote on a poll, tagging collection objects online, posting commentaries, and allowing visitors to create and share their own drawings, photographs, or artworks. Such projects have met with different degrees of success, with some enjoying a positive response, while others recorded low levels of engagement.

In this paper, we will provide a detailed description of some of these projects, present the results of in-depth evaluations conducted with visitors, and attempt to draw some conclusions on what worked, what didn’t, issues encountered, and possible solutions. The hope is that this discussion will provide an orientation for other institutions that are interested in offering technology-based participatory experiences for their audiences.

Keywords: participation, user-generated content, visitor-centricity, evaluation, IMA Labs