Caption: From left to right, artists Alex and Maira Kalman, David Barbosa & Lee Varino from Acoustiguide, and Nora Rodriguez at Russ and Daughters. Mural designed by Maira Kalman.
This story begins about 18 months ago when our long-time creative partner, the Jewish Museum, told us they were “moving away from audio tours.” The museum wanted to rethink how they talked about their collection while redefining their mobile visitor experience.
After all, at Acoustiguide, we’re all about creating experiences. Not ‘tours’ or ‘guides.’ Experiences.
A little background…in January 2018, the Jewish Museum debuted their newly installed permanent collection galleries. They had radically re-conceived their collection to not only honor their identity as a Jewish museum with a one-of-a-kind collection, but also their identity as an art institution. They organized their permanent collection into six galleries with objects spanning over 4,000 years and encompassing myriad subjects and mediums – all connected to Jewish tradition, ritual, and culture.
The museum designed and implemented a new mobile platform (by Code and Theory) and we collaborated to create compelling content that showcased their distinct voice and core missions. The approach was nimbler, more flexible – with shorter thematic experiences and pithy stories that conveyed poignancy, humor, and a decidedly un-fussy tone of voice. Forget in-depth interviews; we opted for tighter conversations. Forget formal narrators; when we even decided we even needed to have them at all, we tapped museum staff as guides. Forget formally produced soundtracks; we featured the sound of the galleries from hours of on-location recordings embellished with thematically-inspired music.
Out of this came Artists’ Voices, Director’s Highlights, Jewish Rituals, Migrations, Family, Verbal Descriptions, and others. These modules celebrated personal reactions from the Museum’s Director, Claudia Gould, artists, rabbis, writers, academics, community leaders, and even…fifth-grade students.
The result is a vibrant and diverse collection of voices speaking in authentic, heartfelt ways about a broad array of objects and art works. But the story doesn’t end here. We are already at work on new projects that will showcase the voices, perspectives, and insights that amplify the Museum’s unique perspective and mission.
A special thanks to our collaborators at the Museum, most especially Nora Rodriguez, the Museum’s Interpretive Media Producer, without whom none of this would have been possible.