Novice museum visitors often lack the skills for interpreting and engaging with works of arts on display. We have observed visitors at the Davis Museum glossing through exhibits, lacking the capacity to make meaning from art viewing.
From interviews with novice viewers, we found that such visitors are often not comfortable discussing works of art and seek opportunities to learn new ways for looking at works of art. Supporting novice museum visitors in building art-viewing capacity is essential for making a lasting impact on visitors and encouraging life-long learning in the arts.
This project investigated how the use of mobile human-computer interaction paired with social networking can offer advantages for museums seeking to redefine the museum experience for novice visitors. To address this question, we developed, in collaboration with the Davis Museum, a social-mobile application that helps novice viewers to build art-viewing capacity,engage with works of art, and become active participants in the museum-goers community. I implemented the application on iOS utilizing the Facebook Connect API. The results of deployment and user research can be found in Art App-reciation: Fostering Engagement and Reflection in Museums through a Social-Mobile Application, presented at the Museums and the Web 2011 conference (see slides on SlideShare). The latest version of the application can be installed from on the iTunes store.