The pen is mightier than the screen?

IMG_1021Doing my #brownbaglunch at the museum today talking about my recent US trip where I was invited to participate in a workshop, Toward a 4D Planetary Carbon Model, facilitated by the Deep Carbon Observatory (DCO) and the Natural History Museum, Washington – more on that here.

One of the trip highlights was a visit to the Cooper Hewitt trying out their new interpretive tool, The Pen, with Seb (actually, he was using mine while I was trying to keep up with him!). Many others have written about that, so rather than a separate post here are some links (yes, I am being lazy):

Media articles:

There are also posts on the Cooper Hewitt Labs blog, plus many others I’ve probably missed!

My take-home lessons:

  • The pen is a look-up experience, not a look-down-at-a-screen experience – enhances the physicality of a museum visit
  • The pen is comfortable and intuitive to use – and is a lovely piece of design in and of itself
  • Object-led interpretive solution, not technology-led solution – the tech fits the context, not the other way around
  • Good WiFi is an absolute must for museums
  • The roll out strategy has been well thought out – but you do need a staff presence with a good understanding of the tech and ability to demonstrate it
  • According to Seb, the pen has encouraged social learning, increased family visitors and longer visits
  • Visitor do access their information later for their own purposes, not ones the museum determines
  • Wallpaper can be fun!

Two other aspects of my visit were a visit to Q?rius at the Smithsonian Natural History Musuem, Washington and the AMNH in New York – also subjects of today’s #brownbaglunch…


One thought on “The pen is mightier than the screen?

  1. Amelia says:

    Slightly off topic but I love the idea of rapid response collecting mentioned in the ‘What museums will look like in the future’ article

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