USF's Museum Blog

Experimenting with Digital Labels

by Eyal Shahar (USF faculty) with Laure Rigaud-Soares (MA, 2020), Taarini Savara (MA, 2020), Kevin Leary (MA, 2020) and Jordan Sandoval (BA, 2020)
This Spring, University of San Francisco’s Museum Studies program rolled out an experimental new version of its Museums and Technology course taught by Eyal Shahar who is a senior new media developer at the Exploratorium, the museum of science, art, and human perception, in San Francisco.
In addition to exploring digital strategy and marketing, technological support for exhibits, exhibitions, and collections, and how new technologies are shaping the museum ecosystem, students are getting familiarized with web technologies like HTML and CSS that are prevalent in almost every aspect of the digital museum experience.
Over the course of this semester, the students are creating their own work around a museum of their choice. Some of these museums are real and others are fictitious. This includes prototypes for their museums’ websites, interactive exhibits, and digital labels.
A digital label, like a conventional label,  provides information to the visitor about a certain exhibit or gallery. However, with a digital label, the interpretation is intended to be displayed on a screen – whether it is a tablet fixed to the gallery’s wall or the visitor’s mobile phone.
Thanks to that, digital labels allow the museum to deliver information in various languages, forms of media, and levels of depth.  Below are samples of some of the work created by the students that helps to bring the art of interpretation into the digital realm in an inventive way.
Laure Rigaud-Soares copy

Label for the fictitious Museum of Impression and Digital by Laure Rigaud-Soares


TaariniSavara copy

A label for the fictitious Museum of Progressive Indian Artists by Taarini Savara


Keving Leary copy

A label for the fictitious Universal Museum of Musical Instruments by Kevin Leary.

Weblabel copy

Old Mining Town digital label by Jordan Sandoval

All in all, as the role of the digital media expands, especially in the COVID-19 crisis, museums further utilize technology to help us make sense of the world through objects as diverse as a modern Indian painting and an acoustic parlor guitar.

To learn more about University of San Francisco’s graduate museum studies program click here.

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