Imperial War Museum Image of Social Interpretation Blog title

Our friends in the North

The Crusader by Gerry Judah at Imperial War Museum North

It’s always nice to get back to the north. And it’s always nice to visit the IWM North. We went for our SI team meeting this week. Primarily to sort out the rolling out of SI kiosks and QR codes in to the radically different spaces up there. We get the chance to install bigger comment screens and hopefully bigger QR codes too. Size does matter.

If ever a project was a moveable feast staff-wise SI is it. Laura, Head of Exhibitions at IWWN is leaving and we welcome James in her place. He has to get up to speed at a fairly dizzy rate as we need to install SI in time for the summer holidays. We want to integrate their staff in the installation as soon as possible and so have invited James and Rick (Technical Manager) to come and see SI in situ in London and meet with Ben, the freelance SI software developer. It always worries me (as a freelancer) when you haven’t got internal staff involved in the making or development of your projects. As it’s internal staff who we have to hand it over to in the end. It’s often easier not to get internal staff involved – as they always have their 4p worth to add – but it’s a much more futureproofed way to work, if you bear with.

We’re starting to get interesting (if small in number) results from our SI kiosks and QR codes. And other staff at the museum are starting to get interested in the sorts of engagement coming out of SI. This week we’ve been discussing if the museum should, would or could edit out the spam kiosk comments. Thus leaving the more engaged comments for other visitors to read and respond to. At the moment we have enough spam to open a counter in Harvey Nichols food hall. And it’ll only get worse as we roll out the web pages for SI. But the museum editing and, as it were, moderating, the kiosk content wasn’t something we’d anticipated happening. Watch this space.

We had a great conversation at the end of the team meeting at IWMN – covering off a possible Phase 2 of SI, where we’d deliver personalised content layers to museum visitors through apps. Targeted museum content, related UGC / comments and related content elsewhere in the museum and online. Personalised by age group – child friendly for instance. Or personalised by visitor preference. For those who like: reading long labels, prefer art, want everything originating from a specific country, want to see all the tanks etc. etc. Preferably this would all be delivered through clever mapping of fields in the backend databases and so be eminently updatable and live and relevant. It’d be great.



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