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Currently, I am the digital production manager at CyArk working with a team of curators, technology experts, and developers to digitally document and archive world heritage sites with an emphasis on at risk heritage. I am also a PhD candidate in “Digital Heritage” in the History of Art and Visual Culture department at UCSC and lecturer at MIT’s Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative. Finally, I am a proud member of Women Who Code, UC Robotics Club, and Drinking about Museums. This blog is a collection of videos, images, and text relating to new technologies in a museum setting. I plan to experiment and practice what I am writing about and researching in hopes of gaining a better understanding of this emerging field.

MoMA’s Century of the Child Exhibition: Redefining Playtime Online

Currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York is the exhibition, Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000. The show features over 500 objects of play ranging from the XO computer (from the one laptop per child initiative) to Pee Wee’s playhouse to eerie political propaganda board games.

Co-curators Juliet Kinchin and Aidan O’Conner were inspired by the Swedish social theorist Ellen Key’s 1900 manifesto. In it, she argues that children should not be treated like tiny adults, but instead have their own type of play and education and this should be an intricate part of developmental growth.

The exhibition is laid out in seven chronological sections and spans the entire 20th century. These sections include: New Century, New Art, New Child 1900-1910, Avant-Garde Playtime 1910-1930s, Light, Air, Health 1920-1930s, Children and the Body Politic 1920-1940, Regeneration 1940-1960, Power Play 1960-1990, and Designing Better World 1960-2000s. All of the themes reflect a period of extraordinary reform in education, healthcare and labor laws for kids.

More impressive than the large exhibition on MoMA’s walls is their curated presence online. The website exhibition designed by Hello Monday, highlights the same kind of exploratory investigation you feel in the gallery. The site literally makes you want to touch, sit, play, leap, and hide, or rather, click on everything. Online, the object information also features an interesting timeline of significant cultural events, and lets you share your favorite toys via twitter or facebook.

   

MoMA has also created a tumblr site which publishes an object a day for the 100 days of the exhibition.

In addition to their website, MoMA has launched two digitally enhanced iPad books for the Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000 and MOMA Collection Highlights. With these two books, MoMA addresses the challenges of turning its print publications into worthy electronic counterparts. They focused on a few key advantages digital books have over print books: the ability to embed audio and video content; to display images with a level of detail that often goes beyond the printed page; and to allow the reader to search for and define terms from directly within their book.

As museums continue to push innovative ways of connecting, teaching, and interacting with their audiences in the galleries and online, MoMA remains a pioneering museum to watch.

            

 

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