Interactive Signage Augments National Portrait Gallery Exhibits - Sound & Video Contractor

Interactive Signage Augments National Portrait Gallery Exhibits

Museums increasingly augment their physical exhibits with interactive technology that allows visitors to explore a wealth of digitized material and information far beyond the content in the museum's possession
Author:
Publish date:

Interactive Signage Augments National Portrait Gallery Exhibits

Apr 14, 2009 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt

Image placeholder title

The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., chose systems integrator Nelson White Systems when it decided to augment its exhibits with interactive digital signage running Omnivex software.

Museums increasingly augment their physical exhibits with interactive technology that allows visitors to explore a wealth of digitized material and information far beyond the content in the museum's possession. Case in point: the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., whose exhibits feature poets, presidents, visionaries, actors, activists, and other individuals who have shaped U.S. history and influenced the culture. Using 19in. Elo TouchSystems touchscreen LCD panels powered by Omnivex software effectively tripled the number of works by famed Washington Post cartoonist Herb Block, complementing the 60 original Herb Block cartoons on display.

The digital signage software, provided by Baltimore-based AV systems integrator and distributor Nelson White Systems, replaced an inhouse solution developed by IT staff at the National Portrait Gallery. The museum upgraded to the Omnivex platform after identifying the need to provide—without custom programming—the ability for visitors to interact with a large volume of digitized content via multilevel submenus, explains Jim Oremland, the account executive at Nelson White Systems who steered the museum to the Omnivex solution.

Signage software has simplified management of digital displays, according to Oremland. Instead of being limited by templates, museum staffers have been able to easily configure menu-based custom display applications. The software also allows the museum to manage the signage network remotely, from its design studio – though Oremland says staffers also like having the simple option to upload new content to the screens via thumb drives. Moreover, signage software has simplified the task of integrating a diversity of video and graphical source file formats.

"[Museum staff] can to take media files in all different formats and wrap a touchscreen system around it," Oremland explains. "You prepare menus and add to the system, tell it where the menus will lead, and connect content. [The software] can manage video in MPEG, AVI, and other formats [along with] static JPEG images or any other standard graphic file, and can display them all within the same interface."

For the end users, museum visitors, interacting with a digital signage platform provides user-controlled access to much more exhibit content.

"Looking at history of a cartoonist, visitors use the touch screen to bring up things that they might not be able to see otherwise in an analog way," Oremland says. With the signage software, this user-controlled content can include digitized versions of original printed content, videos, and other rich media relevant to the exhibit. The museum has incorporated the digital signage system into a second exhibit profiling the actress Lucille Ball. Visitors can use the museum's kiosks to view television shows, movies, and other media featuring the actress.

"Digital signage is not just signage any more. Today, its interactive capabilities as well as its informational functions are making signage really attractive to a lot of varied users," Oremland says. However, he notes that there is a creative usage growth curve for any organization that implements digital signage. "Everyone starts with a single idea. But once they see the capabilities, it becomes an expansion project. For an integrator, the biggest thing is opening people's eyes to seeing that it can be so much more than the narrow applications they envision."

For more information, visit www.nelsonwhite.com and www.omnivex.com.

Featured

Related

HD_userstories_FIU_student_University_hall

Case Study: Florida International University, FL

Florida International University (FIU) is among the top 10 largest universities in the nation. Serving a culturally diverse student body of nearly 54,000 students, FIU is spread across two main campuses and other locations in Miami. Every aspect of student life can be found on ...read more

VSI-Margaritaville-108

Case Study: Margaritaville, Lanier Islands

The lakeside entertainment complex at Margaritaville presented systems integrators dB Integrations and network AV solutions company Visionary Solutions with a real-world experience in 10G v 1G. Margaritaville at Lanier Islands includes restaurants, tiki bars, and walk-up food and ...read more

Easter2014_wide_crop

THE SVC INTERVIEW: Media Ministry at NOW Church

Small churches can now have a big media reach, and selecting the right production gear can make a huge difference in getting the word out. In Ocala, Florida the NOW Church does that with ATEM switchers and cameras from Blackmagic Design. Ricky Perinchief of Proton Global Media ...read more

Clair Bros-0048

Case Study: Cavalry Baptist Church, PA

The snow kept falling and falling. And falling. Reaching two feet, the weight of the snow was too much for the roof to bear at Calvary Fellowship. Ruptured pipes irreparably flooded the 1,100-seat sanctuary at a cost of over a million dollars in damage. “Luckily nobody was hurt,” ...read more