Here is a recap of the PIC Green Events at AAM 2016 Conference and Expo. First, all the events and sessions were an overwhelming success! So, it shows there is a definite growing interest to learn how to make your institution more sustainable.
We had the following sessions:
1. Energy Efficient Cold Storage
2. Future Choices – Best Practices for Profession
3. Environmental Sustainability – Power, Influence and Responsibility
4. Stages of Sustainability
5. Sustainability Sins
Our winners for the SEA (Sustainability Excellence Awards) for the following categories: Facilities, Programs and Exhibits were as follows:
- Large Museums, Facilities: Exploratorium Pier 15/17, San Francisco, CA
- Small Museum, Facilities: The Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Ocean Springs, MN
- Large Museum, Programs: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago Academy of Sciences, Chicago, IL
- Large Museum, Exhibits: San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego, CA
- Honorable Mentions, Exhibits: DesertSol at Springs Preserve, NV
- Honorable Mentions, Programs: PROBEA, Smart Schools, Baja Peninsula, CA
And the field trip to the US Botanic Garden was educational and bursting with sustainable initiatives, we even received our very own instruction manual for teaching. Check out the Sustainable SITES Initiative!
The Expo had a few highlights, but I have to mention the Virtual Reality Booth by SimWave Consulting in Canada. If you are an interactive museum, then you are going to want to keep an eye on their technology.
And a huge thank you to the Natural History Museum for letting us use their booth and partnering up in many ways moving forward!
Until next year in St. Louis…..keep up the green momentum!
The Natural History Museum in LA County just launched the Urban Nature Research Center to promote the study of wildlife in densely populated Southern California. This is a new twist for the 103 year old institution and it is the first project of its kind in the United States.
The new initiative will combine the work of NHM’s Nature Garden and Nature Lab, which focus on plants and animals on museum property, with its various citizen-science projects and animal surveys, all with a budget of $250,000 a year.
The ultimate goal is to increase knowledge and understanding of the ecosystems in L.A.’s mountains, parks, streets, backyards and even medians.
There have been many exciting new species discoveries right in LA, including 43 new species of fly. And with this new program the ability to catalog and use that data increases immensely.
NHM will also have the ability to utilize the “citizen science” program. Basically, every day people get to participate in plant and animal surveys and submit that data using their smartphones to platforms like iNaturalist. Although many aren’t familiar with the program, Lila Higgins, NHM’s manager of citizen science “is working to change that by reaching out to communities across the region and asking them to look at the animals around them.”
NHM is also launching what it’s calling the world’s largest biodiversity project, dubbed the SuperProject, that will examine 200 urban-nature sites from the coast to the desert.
All in all, NHM’s new focus is part of a larger shift from museums and how they are setting about redefining their role in the community and beyond.
Lila Higgins says, “we’re really trying to push it forward and see how we can work with our communities […] and I think the Urban Nature Research Center is the perfect example of that.”
Credit Brooklyn Museum
The free ASK Brooklyn Museum app has been in testing this past year and it just launched on iOS and became available on Android last month. The innovative technology is unique to the museum, said Shelley Bernstein, the vice director of digital engagement and technology at the museum, and was implemented to help visitors better engage with and make connections between the works in the 560,000-square-foot museum.
The app only works in the museum but it allows visitors to ask questions and share photos of objects on display in real time. On average, a member of the six-person Audience Engagement Team will respond within 45 seconds. The exchange is as anonymous as the user wants it to be.
It is important to note that the Museum wants to promote engagement and not have people getting sucked into their phones.” Audience Engagement Team member Andrew Hawkes says, “they’re looking more closely at the art, they’re noticing things, they’re thinking more critically about the work and learning more. That’s a really great feeling.”
Since its launch, there have been about 4,000 conversations through the app. The museum is using data pulled from those exchanges to improve collection installations and exhibition design. It expects about 1% of visitors overall to use the app.
As, Bernstein says, “there’s lots of information in the building, and some want this experience, some want a guided experience. It fits within that framework.”
We are definitely excited to see how ASK will promote audience engagement and get visitors to look at the artwork in new creative ways.
This past weekend the British Museum expanded it’s teaching horizons to include using Virtual Reality. It’s not the first time a museum has done this using Samsung’s Gear VR headsets and likely won’t be the last.
As a child I spent many, many hours in museums, forts, castles, pretty much any kind of cultural institution. So, I know it’s hard to get excited about ceremonial bracelets of the Bronze Age, you sort of glaze over. But if you can be transported back in time and feel like you are there, then the information becomes an experience.
To create this special experience Education Managers at the British Museum Samsung Digital Discovery Centre used 5 Gear VR headsets, 2 Note tablets and an immersive dome with an interactive screen. There are 3 stations in all and each one displays a prehistoric roundhouse environment housing 3D scans of objects in the museum’s European Bronze Age collection, which have various ways as to how they are used.
It’s difficult to teach prehistory like the Bronze Age but with VR you can take audience engagement to a whole new level. Undoubtedly, we will see museums using VR more and more as technology advances and museums continue to search for new ways to engage and enlighten their audiences. It’s really kind of a perfect match, using technology of new to teach knowledge of old, the nerdy part in all of us can appreciate that. For more information check out the British Museum blog post.