Singing monsters and museum selfies, exactly what do they have in common?
The kids app My Singing Monsters is about collecting monsters on an island, which is in fact the head of a giant. When you have collected all the monsters for this island, the giant awakes. This means you are ready to move on to the next island, where you start collecting entirely new monsters. The monsters are singing, all a different tune or rythm. The reward is that when combining them all together you have created a melody, and depending on which monsters sing the melody turns out differently. It’s addictive.
My point is that it is great fun, creative, and entirely possible to spend a lot of time on. It’s interactive. Active. Not passive. And it provides a new experience each time. Over and over.
And so museum selfies. So far I have mainly focused on museum selfies as an act of creating personal narratives. Which is extremely interesting of course. At the same time, what if we look at museum selfies as a way of creating interactivity in static settings, it becomes even more interesting. The act of photography requires physical involvement, placing yourself (often) in front of a museum object. Sometimes you interact with other people, and you raise your arm to get the camera (smartphone) in position. And you interact with your own audience through social media, for example posting on Instagram, using hashtags. Bringing the audience (followers) into the museum. You create a personal experience.
What if many museum selfies is a sign of your museum lacking interactivity? What if it’s in fact… boring? Or at least a quickly consumed experience. (Yes I am being slightly provocative here).
There is of course a possibility of activating the visitors, like with Cooper Hewitt’s The Pen or Rijksmuseum’s campaign to draw art. What if museums were to scale this, what if museums would entirely stop making exhibitions? (And now I am being even slightly more provocative). And instead create rich interactive experience all together. A very tempting thought.
But before going that far, here’s my advice for a starter:
- Embrace museum selfies
- Create other possibilities of interaction
- Engage with the visitors, and harvest the visitors creativity when taking photographs (if and when they want to)
- Monitor visitor photography in your museum, to learn and to improve
Oh and for all of you interested in My Singing Monsters, here’s a short video: