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Museum Connections

The Problem

Museums have to make difficult decisions to put particular pieces in certain galleries, even though the pieces may fit elsewhere.

The Solution

The mobile app Museum Connections allows visitors to identify related pieces between galleries.

How it Works

Enter the name of the museum you are at in the search bar.

Select the correct museum from the search results.

Enter the subject you would like to see.

The app pulls up a map of the museum with the locations of pieces related to the subject.

Selecting a letter on the map takes you to a page with the title and image of the piece.

Challenges

The biggest challenge is how to create the database. Ideally, curators would do so, but they may not have the time. Tagging by users is the most cost effective choice, but it brings up its own set of challenges, i.e. users using different words to describe the same item.

Future Iterations

1. Expand from concrete terms (horse, sword) and add conceptual terms (marriage, aging).

2. Create an interactive map that allows users to see where they are in relation to the items.

3. Allow users to set up tours based on their searches and view other users' tours.

4. Add a comments section for individual pieces and for searches.

Photos courtesy of The Spurlock Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign