The Samuel H. Kress Foundation has awarded two grants to CHNM to undertake two new projects: a study of museums’ use of mobile communications technology and a set of Omeka plugins for art historians and art museums.
The first grant will provide CHNM with funding for a thorough survey of the use of cell phones, Blackberries, iPods, and other mobile devices in art museums. Based on the survey’s findings, the project will produce a white paper of concrete recommendations on how best to use these new technologies to engage visitors with visual art objects and a set of rough prototypes or proofs of concept based on these recommendations.
The second project will produce a set of three plugins for the Omeka web publishing platform geared specifically to the needs of art historians and art museums. The first of these plugins will extend Omeka’s data model to accommodate the emerging CDWA Lite (Categories for the Description of Works of Art Lite) metadata standard, which is gaining widespread adoption among the art museum community. The second will utilize Omeka’s built-in RSS feeds to allow any visitor to an Omeka website to view a museum’s collection in “slide show” or “3D” mode using the popular and visually striking Cooliris software. The third plugin will afford visitors to Omeka websites the ability to annotate and label images and share those annotations with friends, colleagues, and classmates.
The new partnership with Kress underscores CHNM’s broad commitment to digital history and humanities, increasing the Center’s formal engagement with art and art history and pushing scholarly and museum technology in new directions.