Catering to the Niche

I really enjoyed Proctor’s emphasis that looked at content possibilities for mobile applications for museums rather than focusing on cutting edge technologies.  I am not a huge museum fan and this presentation made me realize that one of those reasons is the generic approach provided most exhibits that fail to engage me.  Proctor’s emphasis on using mobile technologies to cater to different niches intrigued me.  I think that this is a great approach to making museums more interactive, more personal, and more adaptable hopefully justifying their existence in the future.  I thought she also made a good point that most people will bring their own devices and that this would change the nature of the technology budget for museums.  I also like the idea that non-museum employees could be involved in creating tours or commenting on exhibits opening many more avenues to reaching a variety of niches that would be impossible for a museum to cater to.

For our mobile project, having an interactive and accessible tour on a mobile device makes it an affordable and easy way to present the information to the general public.  The downside, for me, is a bunch of people walking around downtown looking at their mobile devices as individuals.  I thought that Proctor had a good discussion about how to foster a discussion and group approach with mobile devices that would be interesting to incorporate into our project.  I agree with Anna that mobile devices sound like a good idea in theory for the classroom, but in practice tend to be a huge distraction.  There are many things that a mobile device could do to augment a history class (pictures, timelines, interactive maps, etc.) but I also think that facebook, twitter, and email would get just as much attention in a classroom setting.  I do, however, like the idea of utilizing mobile devices out of class for projects and to enhance the homework experience.  I also really love the idea of incorporating mobile technologies into public history.  I think Proctor was right in showing that people tend to be really interested in niche topics, and if these topics were addressed in more individualized mobile history projects public history would be more effective.

One thought on “Catering to the Niche”

  1. I loved how she played the film from 62 years ago of an audio tour, but illustrated that it could have been more engaging simply by asking the participants what their favorite piece of art was. Trying to engage our niche audiences like this, and then starting up a conversation between the participants seems to be one of the best ways to create effective public history projects.

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