IMLS Funds “Omeka Everywhere” Partnership with Open Exhibits

Open Exhibits
Cross-posted from the Open Exhibits blog. Great news about a new museum, collections software initiative.

We are excited to announce a new partnership between The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason UniversityIdeum (makers of Open Exhibits)  and the University of Connecticut’s Digital Media Center.

Our organizations have been awarded a National Leadership Grant for Museums from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences to extend two open museum platforms: Open Exhibits and Omeka.  (A full list of awardees can be found on the IMLS website.)

The project is called Omeka Everywhere. This new initiative will help keep Open Exhibits free and open for the next three years (our NSF Funding ended last month). In addition, a set of new initiatives for Open Exhibits and Omeka are planned. Here is a brief description of the project.

Dramatically increasing the possibilities for visitor access to collections, Omeka Everywhere will offer a simple, cost-effective solution for connecting onsite web content and in-gallery multi-sensory experiences, affordable to museums of all sizes and missions, by capitalizing on the strengths of two successful collections-based open-source software projects: Omeka and Open Exhibits.

Currently, museums are expected to engage with visitors, share content, and offer digitally-enabled experiences everywhere: in the museum, on the Web, and on social media networks. These ever-increasing expectations, from visitors to museum administrators, place a heavy burden on the individuals creating and maintaining these digital experiences. Content experts and museum technologists often become responsible for multiple systems that do not integrate with one another. Within the bounds of tight budget, it is increasingly difficult for institutions to meet visitors’ expectations and to establish a cohesive digital strategy. Omeka Everywhere will provide a solution to these difficulties by developing a set of software packages, including Collections Viewer templates, mobile and touch table applications, and the Heist application, that bring digital collections hosted in Omeka into new spaces, enabling new kinds of visitor interactions.

Omeka Everywhere will expand audiences for museum-focused publicly-funded open source software projects by demonstrating how institutions of all sizes and budgets can implement next-generation computer exhibit elements into current and new exhibition spaces. Streamlining the workflows for creating and sharing digital content with online and onsite visitors, the project will empower smaller museums to rethink what is possible to implement on a shoestring budget. By enabling multi-touch and 3D interactive technologies on the museum floor, museums will reinvigorate interest in their exhibitions by offering on-site visitors unique experiences that connect them with the heart of the institution—their collections.


State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now

Ideum has partnered with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to navigate their extensive State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibition, running from September 13, 2014 to January 19, 2015.


We are collaborating with Crystal Bridges in the creation of a custom software application that will allow visitors to go beyond the works in the gallery and explore each of the 100 American artists in the State of the Art exhibit in more detail, complete with works that are not on physical display in the museum.  

The exhibit spans a variety of medium, from more traditional painting and sculpture to installation and new media works – the custom application gives viewers the ability to view works of all types in one convenient location.  Users navigate the US map to find artists from all over the country, learn about their motivation, view their studios, and even watch recorded interviews with the artists talking about their work.  Additionally, users can find artwork and artists in their neck of the woods –  by entering a zip code and an email address, they can have a custom list of galleries and museums emailed to them.

We’ve posted some of the work in progress that we’ve done with Crystal Bridges to Ideum’s portfolio on Behance.

Additionally, Ideum has developed two custom multitouch screens to display the custom software, helping visitors investigate further into the incredible lives and artwork of these up-and-coming artists and explore what is happening today in American art.


Ideum created two custom screens, one a 55” Drafting TouchTable and the other a 46” Presenter TouchWall with a custom white color coating, matching the white walls of the pristine gallery setting.

More information about this incredible exhibit to come, as we get closer to the opening date.

For current information on State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now, please visit:



The New Cooper-Hewitt Experience

Cooper-Hewitt Design MuseumThe Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum will be reopening to the public on December 12, 2014 and Ideum is playing a big part in their improved visitor experience. Throughout the gallery, there will be interactive collections and exhibitions, complete with large projected capactive (pro-cap) displays, custom designed and engineered by Ideum. Along with the team at Cooper Hewitt, we are working with some great partners including: Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Local Projects, among others.

The displays at the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum are the world’s first fully-integrated 4K Ultra High-Definition pro-cap multitouch tables that use stylus input.  There will be 55” and 84” tables throughout the museum that will allow visitors to utilize a specialized stylus “pen” to gather information and drawings as they visit the various exhibits.  Each table will allow several users the ability to gather information at the same time.  The 55” table allows six users and the 84” will allow eight users to simultaneously utilize the table and gather personalized information.  

To learn more visit the Cooper-Hewitt website and The New York Times


Join Open Exhibits and Ideum at AAM’s Museum Expo

Next week Open Exhibits and Ideum will be at the annual AAM Museum Expo in Seattle, Washington. Join us at our booth (#2809) in the Technology Innovation Zone from May 19th – May 21st. We’ll be featuring interactive software applications created with the Open Exhibits SDK on Ideum’s 4K UHD Platform 55 Drafting Table and Platform 46 Full-Size Table.  We will also have print copies of the HCI+ISE conference findings available for free! We look forward to seeing you! Shoot us an email at info(at) if you’d like to meet up. 



Ideum & Open Exhibits at ASTC 2013

astc-conferenceThe Association of Science – Technology Centers (ASTC) is holding their annual conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico from October 19-22.  With the conference here in our state, we have a lot planned. First off, we are sharing a booth with the Open Exhibits project. We have two booths in fact (#201/300) and we will be hard to miss as we are right in front of entrance two at the exhibit hall. 

In addition to the booths, we will be presenting at two sessions: Existing in Two Worlds Pecha Kucha and Engaging Visitors with Disabilities in STEM Learning.  In the first session, we will present lessons learned from the Human Computer Interaction in Informal Science Education (HCI+ISE) Conference held earlier this year. In the second, we will explain our work in the Creating Museum Media for Everyone (CMME) project to build in accessibility tools within Open Exhibits.

Finally, we are having a party and you’re invited (if you are attending ASTC, of course). We will be hosting this party Monday October 21st at the Ideum studios in conjunction with the Exhibitionist Journal (published by the National Association for Museum Exhibition, NAME). Stop by our booth at ASTC and we’ll give you a party pass!mariachineuvo-sonido

Mariachi Nuevo Sonido will be playing at the Ideum studio party which will include New Mexico food and beverages. We will also be showing off our new multitouch tables including our new Platform 46 and Platform 32 and 46 multitouch coffee tables.


Ideum Creative Services – Portfolio Update

Over the last few years, we’ve become fairly well known for our hardened multitouch tables and touch walls.  What some people don’t know is that we provide creative services in the areas of application development and custom exhibits. In fact, our firm has been developing interactive exhibits for nearly fifteen years. 

To better showcase these services we’ve redesigned our portfolio site. We’ve also added new projects including: Visit Indy – a multitouch-enabled 3D interactive exhibit exploring the city of Indianapolis and Survey George Washington – a multiuser interactive developed with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. In addition, earlier this year we added projects with SFMOMA, Gateway Science Museum, and Spinnaker Tower to the interactive exhibits section of our portfolio. 

We’ve added many additional photographs to the Ideum Flickr site showing these custom applications and some of the custom hardware that we’ve produced (a few examples below).

Visit IndySurveying George Washington Surveying George Washington

Currently, we are working on projects with George Washington’s Mount Vernon (yes, another George Washington project!), Citizen Science, the National Park Service, NASA, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These projects will be appearing in our portfolio in the coming months. 


Multitouch Coffee Tables Now Shipping

Our first Platform 46 Multitouch Coffee Tables are shipping out this week. This first wave of multitouch coffee tables are going to a pair of universities that will be placing them in student learning centers and lounges. 

We’re excited to see these tables ship-off to their higher learning destinations. They’ll be put to the test by in-coming fall ’13 students! That’s okay, we know these tables are up to the challenge.

See the Platform 46 coffee table in action in the video below:

 Learn more about the Platform 46 Multitouch Coffee Table with integrated 3M displays.


New Version of Informal Science is Live

Informal Science Website Screenshot

This week the new site for the Informal Science website ( was launched. Ideum, in collaboration with CAISE (The Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education) and the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley, designed the site and compiled the resources of three previous educational sites into a single, comprehensive online destination for informal science education (ISE) professionals. The site was developed with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Along with a new and improved design, the Informal Science website features an active member community, interactive guides, a robust project and research search engine, discussion forum, in-depth wiki and much more.

Learn more about the Informal Science web project in our portfolio.



Ideum at the AAM Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo

aam_logoIdeum will be attending this month’s American Alliance of Museum’s Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo in Baltimore, May 19-22. We’ll be at Booth #501 - come see our Platform 3M 46 touch table, Presenter 55 touch wall, and our Open Exhibits Collection Viewer application.  

The MuseumExpo opening event begins on Monday, May 20th at noon. 

Jim Spadaccini, Ideum’s CEO & Creative Director, will present in the Annual Meeting session titled Learning Together: Developing Multi-User Interactives on Tuesday, May 21st at 8:45 a.m.  Fellow presenters include Aaron Miller of Bluecadet, Marie Georg of the Field Museum, and moderator Josh Goldblum of Bluecadet. 


Open Exhibits Workshop at Museums and the Web 2013

Open Exhibits is presenting a workshop at the Museums and the Web 2013 conference in Portland, Oregon on Wednesday, April 17.

The Open Exhibits workshop will explore the technology and design aspects of multitouch, multi-user exhibit development through hands-on application building using the Open Exhibits SDK. Among much else, the workshop will introduce the digital database collection viewer, an application that allows multitouch, mulituser browsing of a museum’s digital media archive.

The workshop is open to both new and veteran users. Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about topics of interest including:

• Integrating digital media databases (including Flickr)
• Multitouch, multiuser design strategies
• Gesture Markup Language
• Creative Markup Language
• Building components and other advanced SDK topics

Workshop attendees will experience the Open Exhibits software framework through one of Ideum’s multitouch tables, the Platform.The attendees will learn how to create an application using the framework and will have the opportunity to test it on a large multitouch, multiuser computing surface.

The workshop will be led by Jim Spadaccini, Director of Ideum and Principal Investigator of Open Exhibits and Charles Veasey, Project Manager and Lead Software Developer of Open Exhibits.

The annual Museums and the Web conference is the leading international conference in the field of museums and their websites. It has been organized by Archives & Museum Informatics each Spring in North America since 1997.

Register now:

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