Beauty in the Rust Belt
One of our museum development team and his partner chose to spend part of their Christmas holiday in sunny Cleveland. It wasn’t for the beaches that they went to the rusty shores of Erie but to enjoy one of the most advanced interactive museum experiences available anywhere.
Cleveland may not leap to mind as a top cultural tourism destination, but it is home to an absolutely top-drawer art gallery with a rich and varied collection encompassing a vast range of art history and genres. The recent completion of an enormous renovation, including a new building and atrium, is nothing short of world-class. In fact, from our perspective, their complete re-interpretation of their collection fronted by an astonishing and truly innovative technological experience places it in a class of its own. Called Gallery One, it is a 13,000 sq. ft. space featuring interactive stations offering different and highly compelling ways for the visitor to be drawn into exploring the collection.
Jane Alexander, Chief Information Officer and the powerhouse behind Gallery One, gave up a holiday Saturday afternoon to very generously offer a personal tour.
Jane explained that, when planning the new space, she had several key issues to address. For one thing, Cleveland, being off the radar for most tourists, depends on a homegrown (read ‘repeat’) audience for the gallery. Another was her belief that, as a rule, art galleries are not set up to take advantage of the way that most of the public navigates their spaces. In her view the average gallery visitors are magpies—alighting on whatever piece happens to catch their eye. More informed visitors, on the other hand, are likely to visit only the sort of work they like. Her challenge then was how to you get both of these visitor-types to expand their horizons, to look at more and varied art, to develop an interest in new areas instead of sticking with the familiar? And, just as important, how do you encourage them to come back again?
Her answer was with an experience that immerses them in art of every genre, era and media. The technology she and her colleagues employed is so much fun and so engaging that it practically constitutes an exhibition in itself. The motive isn’t a love of technology though, like any good museum it is centred on the human being—how to encourage visitors to go beyond their self-imposed limits and experience more of the artwork in deeper, richer ways. Next blog we’ll tell you all about it.
January 17, 2018 While in Oxford…
The meat of the traditional museum experience is found in Block B. Here you will see vintage radio sets, encrypting teletype machines, more Enigma machines and a working reproduction of the “Bombe.”
January 3, 2018 Decoding E-Money Is Here
Now that we are again back in our house, we’ve invited one of our wandering exhibitions home for a visit: Decoding E-Money.
December 19, 2017 Building the Wall
It’s basically an enormous digital tablet—the biggest one you’re likely to find anywhere in Canada.
December 6, 2017 The Price of VictoryWe opened the Museum doors at noon on Saturday, November 11, and to my amazement, more than 70 visitors flooded our entrance in the first hour.
November 23, 2017 The Bank of Canada Museum Goes International
Every year the conference of the International Federation of Finance Museums (IFFM) draws museum directors from five continents to a get-together aimed at sharing best-practices and keeping up with the latest trends in the world of financial museums. This year was the Bank’s first opportunity to attend the conference with a museum in fully-operational mode.
November 8, 2017 Harry Potter Was Here
Imagine your kids nagging you to visit a great cathedral or whining, “Kevin’s family got to go on a walking tour of Oxford, why can’t we?” Oddly enough, this scenario may not as far fetched as it sounds.
October 23, 2017 A Curator’s Favourite Task
I have several key responsibilities to meet the requirements of my job. None of them is more gratifying than conducting research about the incredible artifacts in the Bank’s collection.