(New York, May 2007) -- Acoustiguide is proud to announce that it has been recognized with five major awards. The company is the recipient of 3 MUSE Awards in the Audio and Visual Interpretation category and 2 IRIS awards in the Audio or Visual Medium category.
At the 2007 MUSE Awards Acoustiguide won a gold for The Blanton Museum of Art’s permanent collection audio program, Uncommon Commentaries, bronze for the Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA), Red Studio Teen Podcast and an honorable mention for the Chicago Office of Tourism’s enhanced podcast, Chicago Blues. No other company has ever received three MUSE awards in one year. All three programs are available for download on iTunes.
Now in its 18th year, the MUSE Awards recognize outstanding achievement in museum media and are organized by the Media and Technology Standing Professional Committee of the American Association of Museums (AAM). Museum and media professionals from across the US judged nearly 200 applications submitted from a wide variety of museums in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Winning entries were expected to demonstrate outstanding achievement in content quality; interface design; functionality; production quality; visual appeal; the user’s experience; and the intent to which new directions were charted or old challenges resolved through technical innovation.
“The quality and diversity of entries has been exceptional”, said Nik Honeyset, Chair of AAM’s Media & Technology Committee. “The ingenuity and creativity of the people who conceptualize and build these projects, never ceases to amaze me.”
In Acoustiguide’s gold winning Blanton Museum of Art’s, Uncommon Commentaries, voices of local Austin residents join the museum’s curators and the University of Texas faculty in illuminating 32 works of art for listeners. The tour was designed to appeal to intellectually and artistically curious visitors, and creates an extraordinary experience connecting art and ideas. Uncommon Commentaries demonstrates that there are many ways to understand and enjoy works of art and encourages visitors to draw connections between their own experiences and art objects.
The judges said: “The skilful use of the audio medium results in an audio tour that is enriching, engaging, and educational. The tour has a very high production value, equal to segments on the radio” and commented that “much of its success comes because the museum opened the conversation to voices beyond normal categories of “authority” therefore validating the ability of the regular museum visitor to exercise his or her own critical judgment about works on view. The tour is enjoyable as an exhibition supplement, yet… is strong enough to stand on its own as a purely audio experience”.
The Red Studio Teen Podcast was developed by Acoustiguide together with MoMA’s Youth Advisory Council. The project grew out of the teens’ evaluation of MoMA’s programs and their desire to include their own “voices” in museum interpretation. The result is a dynamic podcast designed for teens by teens in conjunction with Acoustiguide’s Pass the Mic curriculum. The audio is available on Acoustiguide’s handheld exSite wands, and as streaming and downloadable audio on moma.org and its teen subsite, Red Studio (moma.org/redstudio)
The judges said: “Red Studio meets a great need to provide teen audiences with a forum for expression and communication… MoMA’s approach in utilizing its teen audience to engage new visitors and offer new perspectives is fresh and inviting…featuring the audio as a podcast allows visitors greater accessibility to the content outside the museum.”
The Chicago Blues enhanced podcast, which is available at www.downloadchicagotours.com follows the development of electric blues, a true American tradition. The program features actual cuts from many of the great Blues artists and their followers. The primary goal of Chicago Blues is to educate listeners in the significance of Blues to the history of Chicago, as well as its importance in the larger landscape of American and international culture. It is meant to be rewarding both to those visitors who can come to take the tour in person, as well as those who cannot make the trip. A downloadable enhanced podcast and website couples archival images and maps with the audio production to allow users to experience the sights and sounds for themselves.
“They (the creators) went one step beyond, creating a meaningful experience comprising a map, audio commentary and musical samples” stated the judges. “The content is also available for off-line use, and while it would offer an evocative introduction to a visitor on the streets of Chicago, it is strong enough to be educational and engaging no matter where the listener may be.”
The coveted MUSE awards are in addition to two IRIS Awards bestowed by the International Association of Business Communicators’ (IABC) on Uncommon Commentaries, and the Dead Sea Scrolls Family Tour, created with Discovery Place and the Pacific Science Center.
IRIS awards are presented by the New Jersey chapter of the IABC), a prestigious association of communications, marketing and PR executives.