New Antenna partnerships with the World’s Premier Cultural Destinations

The new Louvre Abu Dhabi represents the single largest project for digital content creation in the mobile interpretation industry. So it is with great pride we can announce that Antenna will be producing 200 stops across the permanent collection. These will also include an interactive family experience, an adult experience, and an adapted experience for visitors with disabilities.

“This partnership is an opportunity for Antenna to pioneer the interpretation of virtual art and exhibits – and to connect more people to culture than ever before, through storytelling,” says David Falter, President and CEO of Antenna. “Our efforts on this project will play a major role in supporting Abu Dhabi’s mission to serve as a cultural metropolis and a meeting place for the world.”

Falter continues, “The mission behind the development of these experiences is to highlight the shared influences and mutual history of humankind. We want to avoid the isolation of cultures and disciplines to offer a comprehensive history of art, providing an alternative to the particular vision of the world that has long been proposed by museums. We’re deviating from traditional approaches and building an experience that will redefine the art of storytelling – even beyond these museum walls.”

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is scheduled to open in 2017. The museum will play a vital role in the cultural district currently being developed in Abu Dhabi, which is also expected to house extensions of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum.

 

Chicago Tribune spotlights our new EVP, Creative Services & Global CMO

At Antenna, we approach each project as a strategic partner – someone who truly understands the needs, goals and challenges of the institutions we work with. Our industry knowledge is very much shaped by over 30 years of listening – listening to the people we work with, their visitors, their leadership teams, their people ‘on the ground’. That’s why much of our own leadership team comes from the museum world itself – which gives us an intimate understanding of how museums work.

Gordon Montgomery, our new Executive Vice President, Creative Services & Global Chief Marketing Officer is well known in the industry. He comes to Antenna from the Art Institute of Chicago, where he served as Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs from 2012 to the present. Responsible for many of the visitor and public-facing operations, he cultivated an enhanced overall visitor experience that led to Trip Advisor ranking it as the “number one Museum in the World”. Prior to that, Gordon spent much of his career in the creative industry at global advertising agency Leo Burnett, where he worked on some of the world’s most iconic brands, including Procter & Gamble, Sony, Motorola, The United States Postal Service, Gateway and Maytag.

To find out exactly what Gordon himself has to say about his new role, and to gain some more insight into what will be happening at Antenna over the coming months, why not read the full article from the Chicago Tribunehere.

Our take on “How to Talk to a Visitor Who is Wearing Headphones”

These days, many visitors to our museums walk around playing with an audio or multimedia tour device and are often wearing headphones and listening to an audio tour commentary at the same time.

This doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention to the artwork (nor does it mean this post will continue as a parody of another article circling on the web this week…).

To increase your “take up rate”, visitors need to know an audio tour is available. Here are a few tried and true methods to acheive this.

5 ways to increase your “take up rate” with signage:

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    1. Signage, inside and out
    Clearly marked signage outside of the museum will ensure that visitors can mentally plan their first steps into your site. They’ll know that they can buy a ticket and pick up a tour before entering the exhibitions.

    2. Flags and graphics
    Use flag graphics to let visitors know that a tour is available in their language. This is an effective way to communicate with both multilingual visitors and in large spaces where text is not easily seen from far away.

    3. Entrypoints
    Distributing the tour at the entry of a temporary exhibition reminds visitors that a tour is available for the exhibition they are about to see, rather than remembering to return to the main entry way to pick up a device. Putting signage at the distribution point will alert visitors to an audio tour and the exhibition itself.

    4. The “people factor”
    Never underestimate friendly looking staff distributing a tour. If they catch the eye of a visitor, have them ask the patron directly if they would like a tour. The staff can show how to use the device and answer questions about the audio tour experience.

    5. Location, location, location
    Placing the audio tour desk in a highly trafficked location will remind visitors to pick up and return their device upon exit, without the need for even more signage.

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Our on site operations teams are available for helping your museum get on the right track for audio tour distribution. You can learn more about that here.

Exploring Visual Identity: Opening the Doors to Stowe House

Designing the visuals for a multimedia app means understanding our partner institutions’ visual identities. We need to understand the story behind the institution and how their logo and branding tell the visitors those stories.

What is a Visual Identity?
Some people liken a brand to a friend of the audience, but in our industry, its more than that – the brand is your visitor services staff that welcomes the visitors to explore. Taking the comparison even further, the app literally becomes the tour guide. Visual branding – and by extension the app – tell your visitor what type of experience they will be having and from the very beginning can influence experience with visual clues.

Achieving Your Institutions’ Look and Feel
We start to get a look and feel for the institution by studying the branding that the museum is already using. Then we look at the objectives the museum has – who is the target audience for the app and how can we use the visual identity to capture their interest? Now, it’s our job to connect the institution’s visual identity and with the visitors’ digital and onsite experiences.
Looking through doorways quoteStowe House, we started with a logo and illustrated Victorian paper silhouettes and connected those to the proper English estate. Stowe House has a very interesting history in which the institution is best known as a school and is working diligently to gain a reputation as an attraction. To convey the idea of seeing something behind the scenes, we introduced visualizations of doors to each room. The app also gains a sense of digital “space” and a realistic feeling since there is a visualization of a door to each room. The thumbnail images of each room allow visitors to “peek in” and appeal to people’s natural curiosity and desire to explore to encourage them to explore the app. Behind the doors are the Victorian silhouettes that reinforce the ambiance and aesthetic.

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Transport Visitors Back in Time to a Different Aesthetic
The transition from looking at the app to looking around the room in real life is seamless for visitors. Incorporating the authentic, traditional and stately design with photos and illustrations of objects in each room connect the multimedia digital experience with the onsite experience and bridge the real and the virtual.

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Dome Interactive wins award in Paris

What if, through a monument, you could travel back in time, rather than being a simple observer imagining the past? Picture the last resting place of Napoleon, and the beauty of his tomb. That’s exactly what we’ve helped deploy at the Army Museum in Paris with “Dôme interactive”, the new interactive multimedia tour on iPad mini. Art graphique et patrimoine (AGP) who created the content, have made it possible for visitors to see Dome interactiveinside and around the Dome Chapel and the various tombs in a way never before experienced. We have provided all the equipment, and the staff who run the operation.

Using 3D modelling and the iPad Mini, the tour allows visitors to see what the original building looked like during the reign of Louis XIV, and look at an impressive reconstruction of Napoleon’s ceremonial coffin the day it was presented. And in a brave departure from traditional audio guides, the client chose to forego any audio commentary and instead place the emphasis on a shared, social, headphone free experience that visitors could experience together. The value of the 3D models in particular is undeniable and continues to be praised by visitors.

Just recently, at their annual event, the RNCI 2016, Clic France ran for the only 2nd time ever the ‘Prix Patrimoine & Innovation’ (Heritage & Innovation Awards). Out of 6 categories and 36 projects, the award for ‘Dispositifs in situ’ (On-site Tools) went to the Dome Interactive Tour. This is a fantastic accolade that shows thinking outside the box when it comes to tour design and being willing to make brave moves in trying new ways to improve visitor experience is one of the right things to do.

New App Teaches Young Kids about Art at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Antenna Develops Fun Way to Engage with Kids of All Ages

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – January 20, 2016 – A fun, innovative app designed exclusively for children visiting the Milwaukee Art Museum has been launched by Antenna, a global leader in designing mobile experiences, technology and consulting services for cultural and historic institutions.   The new app is uniquely segmented for two groups of young visitors – ages 4-7 and 8-12 – and is playfully designed to engage kids, providing fun ways to experience the Museum, and inspire them to explore the content and collections.  It is the first museum app developed specifically for audiences this young.

MAM screenshots on phones “There’s a higher standard when developing an app for younger visitors, especially for a Museum that’s nationally recognized for its innovative art education programming,” said Sofie Andersen, Executive Producer for Antenna. “Working together with the team at the Museum, we identified a playful interface design focusing on new features that could translate into using the app at home as well as at the museum.”

The “A is for Art” audio tour experience is designed for the Museum’s youngest visitors aged 4-7 and is charmingly voiced by child actors. By way of this tour, kids are immediately engaged in the ABC’s of what they are seeing in the artworks, starting with “A is for Angel” at  Abbott Thayer’s An Angel (1893) and ending with “Z is for Zoo” at Giovanni Castiglione’s Noah and the Animals Entering the Ark, (ca. 1650).  The app features short audio excerpts that encourage discussion between the adults and the children in the group.

The “Eye-Touch” tour is for children aged 8-12 and uses a mix of audio, video and interactive games to introduce kids to more than 40 works in the collection. The tour balances fun experiences – such as behind-the-scenes video footage of artists at work and on-screen activities, with audio-messages aimed at helping kids to look closely and engage with the art. As an example, children can see a spoof weather report from a local meteorologist based on a painting they’re observing – or participate in games where they pick and mix together the sound effects.

Antenna has taken the popular social media phenomenon – “selfies” – and created the “Art Selfie,” a fun camera function to encourage kids to connect directly with the art they are looking at, and in turn, be creative themselves. Using the camera, kids take a Selfie and insert themselves into a selection of art works, then share the resulting image on social media or save them on their device.  This feature uses the Museum’s collection of anonymous 18th and 19th century portrait miniatures to give visitors a chance to see how they would look as a work of art.

This hands-on engagement reflects an emerging best practice in the museum industry that encourages the use of multiple access points, including serendipitous surprises known in the tech industry as “Easter eggs.”

“Who doesn’t want to take a selfie with a work of art, play taxi radio stations, or discover other fun ways to engage with the museum?” Anderson said. “We know people love to use their cameras in museums and the Art Selfie is a great way to turn that behavior into a creative and fun experience.  Instead of saying ‘no’ to phones and cameras, this brings visitors right into experience.  We’ve been testing all of these activities with kids over the last few months and they absolutely love playing with the features, and we have a feeling parents will be getting in on the act, too!”

The app was developed as part of the Kohl’s Art Generation project, for the Museum’s Apple devices – and it can be downloaded as well, allowing kids to resume the experience at a later time, either at the Museum or remotely.

“The new app not only provides structured tours for our young visitors and their families, but it also offers lots of serendipitous discoveries – as well as the chance to make, bookmark and share their discoveries using social media,” said Brigid Globensky, Senior Director of Education at Milwaukee Art Museum. “It’s a perfect complement to the full range of activities families can have in our newly renovated galleries and we love that they can now share their experiences and continue exploring once they are home.”

The app is available for download.

Legacy of the Titanic brought to life like never before

The Titanic – one of the most famous ships ever built, and it’s subsequent tragedy, was a lesson to mankind’s own hubris and changed the shipping industry forever. But it was also a story of tremendous ambition, hope and bravery. This incredible story is retold at The Titanic Experience’s new walking tour in Belfast, produced by Antenna for the XP-Iris 2 multimedia player.

The tour features beautiful archive photos of the Titanic and tells the story of Belfast: why Titanic was built there, the people who built her, life on board and also the changes and advances that have been made as a result of the tragedy. It gives you the chance to listen to interviews with Titanic Historian Stephen Cameron and the voices of the crew who work on site at Titanic Belfast. The visual design of the tour has been inspired by the museum building itself and the images used throughout work to show how impressive a feat Titanic really was, evoking a sense of that time.

The building that houses the exhibition is featured on the new British national passport, which will begin to circulate in December this year. The tour features a video of the architect of the building sketching his inspirations, as well as a clip of the equipment used to discover and explore the sunken wreck.

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In addition to an Adult Tour in 8 languages, the challenge was to engage younger visitors, who often miss the wealth of information the site has to offer. So Antenna designed a family tour to encourage their understanding of the site and of the Titanic story, addressing questions such as why did she sink and why was she made in the first place? The family tour has a really vibrant and elegant design and features lots of animations starring Titanic Belfast’s own caricatures. Though these characters had been developed for onsite signage some time ago, this was the first time that they had actually been animated, brought to life by Antenna and a fun script.

Another key challenge was how to explain the sinking of the ship to the kids without scaring them. Antenna’s writer, David McFetridge, came up with a really beautiful stop on the tour, describing the event in 37 seconds – the exact amount between the lookout spotting the iceberg and Titanic hitting it. You’ll get goose bumps every time you hear it!

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As you progress through the tour, elements change – for example, on the main menu scroll down and the background moves from being a blue sky to the shipyard. There is also a quiz, interviews with men who worked in the Harland & Wolff shipyard (where Titanic was built), a content hotspot game and small family challenges to keep children engaged.

In addition to an Adult and a Family Tour, Antenna have also produced a Visually Impaired and a British Sign Language Tour.

Statue Stories Chicago

Chicago’s Public Statues Brought to Life Through Innovative Use of Mobile Technology

30 iconic statues speak their minds as part of Statue Stories Chicago project

CHICAGOAugust 6, 2015Statue Stories Chicago, a new innovation in public art is launching in the city that brought America the famous Cows on Parade. This new city wide arts project, gives voice to Chicago’s most important statues and sculptures. The project enables statues to speak their mind from August 6th, 2015 through the summer of 2016, offering listeners experiences from the historical to comical,– as narrated by a collection of celebrity personalities.

 

Statue Stories Chicago calls upon people to look at Chicago’s public artworks with new eyes and ears,” said Jessica Taylor, VP of Experience Design at Antenna Lab – which served as a technical supplier on the project. “Each statue has a unique story to tell, including Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln Park, the lions guarding the Art Institute of Chicago, the eloquent Paul Laurence Dunbar, and the giant Picasso.”

To hear the statues speak, visitors have three simple options to launch a “call back” on their smartphone from the statue, using three kinds of technology: NFC, QR codes or a short mobile URL. There is no need to download anything.

 

“The idea was to create a spontaneous experience, where people could discover Statue Stories for themselves.   We intentionally steered away from creating an app that people would have to download in advance, and instead we opted for low-cost technologies such as NFC and QR codes,” Taylor said. “We think this preserves the spontaneity of each experience and ensures that the content is available to a much broader audience.”

 

Spearheaded by the non-profit art production company, Sing London, the Statues Stories Chicago project replicates a similar effort, Talking Statues London, that the organization launched last year throughout London and Manchester in the UK. Sing London has now developed monologues for a variety of actors, comedians, journalists, opera singers, playwrights, and producers to voice the statues in Chicago, including: Carol Burnett, Steve Carell, Renee Fleming, Ike Holter, Bill Kurtis, Tina Landau, Elizabeth McGovern, Bob Newhart, John C. Reilly, David Schwimmer, among many others.

The team from Antennal Lab devised standards and implemented the technology used in the project in collaboration with Sing London and the City of Chicago. The company relied on its previous experience with the Talking Statues London project to streamline the technical implementation effort and replicate the high-caliber experience for a Chicago audience.

 

“It’s not high cost technology,” Taylor added. “It’s just very well executed and can be replicated elsewhere.”

 

The city-wide project is funded by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and is delivered with in-kind support from cultural partners including: the Art Institute of Chicago, The Chicago Park District, The Chicago Public Library, The Chicago Tribune, Choose Chicago, The Cultural Mile, The Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, The Field Museum, The Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, The Millennium Park Foundation, The Shedd Aquarium, Steppenwolf Theatre and The Second City. Status Stories Chicago was powered by Antenna Lab, cultural technologists and leading producers of museum guides – while support with casting and recording came from Audible.com.

In conjunction with the project, The Goodman Theatre is overseeing a public writing competition where three winning scripts will give the gift of speech to a trio of statues; (1) a maiden behind the Art Institute of Chicago, (2) a cow who’s lost its herd, and (3) a Brachiosaurus by The Field Museum. The winning entries will be recorded by prestigious theatre members and will speak in time for Easter 2016. For more information, visit www.statuestorieschicago.com.

Some Statues at a Glance:

  • Elizabeth McGovern swaps the splendour of Downton Abbey to go further back in time as the Greek Goddess Hebe, who stands upon the Rosenberg Fountain
  • By the Shedd Aquarium Steve Carell gives voice to the statue of Man with Fish, scaling back on the fish jokes .
  • Shonda Rhimes voices Miró’s Chicago, telling us what it’s like to have a giant fork sticking out of your head
  • Bob Newhart creates and voices a monologue for a statue of…Bob Newhart! He is perhaps the first person to give voice to his own statue
  • Does the passing public pout or preen? David Schwimmer takes on the role of Cloud Gate, revealing what the Bean has actually seen
  • Renee Fleming captures The Spirit of Music, revealing how a city of hog butchers learned to love classical music and opera
  • John C. Reilly animates Scott Turow’s monologue for Standing Lincoln
  • Johnny Galecki of The Big Bang Theory swaps physics for astronomy, giving voice to the great Copernicus
  • Bill Kurtis animates Montgomery Ward, the entrepreneur who battled the city to preserve Chicago’s lakefront
  • In Lincoln Park, Jack McBrayer plays up the lighter side of a young Will Shakespeare
  • Malcolm London pays tribute to the African American poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar in a literary mash up that crosses generations
  • Bob Balaban gives resonance to Haym Salomon, the patriotic Jewish financier and principal funder of the American Revolution
  • Is it a bird? Is it a crane? Or a horse with no name? Carol Burnett explores the inner voice of the mysterious being that is Chicago’s Picasso
  • Luis Valdez is the inner voice of Benito Juarez, Mexico’s famous leader who feels his name has been taken in vain.
  • Oz Park is in Chicago, not Kansas but to Dorothy, it feels like home. Lookingglass Theatre breathes new life into L. Frank Baum’s famous characters.

About Antenna Lab

Antenna Lab, part of Antenna International, is a collection of leading cultural technologists and creators of immersive multimedia museum experiences. The organization serves as a hub for exchanging ideas and trend spotting in the cultural sector. Drawing on original research and embracing rapid prototyping, digital innovation and emerging platforms, the Lab delivers consultancy and training products as well as showcasing leading-edge projects and the latest digital innovations. www.antennalab.org | www.antennainternational.com

About Sing London

Sing London is a non-profit UK based arts organisation whose projects aspire to lift the public’s spirit. Sing London’s work strives to connect people to the public spaces we all share. Past projects include London’s Street Pianos Project, and Ping!, which saw 1,000 ping pong tables installed in public spaces across England. Most recently they produced Talking Statues London. For more information visit www.singlondon.org

About The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation seeks to improve Chicago’s built environment, to enhance the city through the arts, to use investigative reporting to strengthen democracy, and to ameliorate the effects of low wages on the working poor. For more information visit www.driehausfoundation.org.

Press Contact:

Jeff Pecor

Tailwind PR for Antenna International

206.948.1482

Jeff@tailwindpr.com