iBeacons: Creating Rich, Location-Aware Technologies to Enhance Museum Experiences

Your Name and Title:
Dana Carlisle Kletchka, curator of education
Museum or Organization Name:
Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State

Co-Presenter Name(s):
Chris Millet, Assistant Director, Education Technology, Penn State

Area of the World from Which You Will Present:
Pennsylvania, United States

Language in Which You Will Present:

Target Audience(s):
Museum educators, curators, and information technology specialists in museums

Short Session Description (one line):
This session will describe some of the interpretive possibilities offered by iBeacons, particularly in institutions that have been unable to install wireless due to budget, location, or building restrictions.

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):
Location-aware technologies hold the promise of delivering context-relevant experiences to users who are exploring new spaces. Unfortunately, GPS, the most prominent driver of location-aware technologies, only functions outdoors. QR codes, another popular solution, are unintuitive and clunky. Recently, Apple released iBeacons, a new technology which enables “indoor GPS”. iBeacons allows mobile devices to sense their proximity to small, inexpensive, and low-power transmitters. Penn State’s Education Technology Services has developed a new mobile app to deliver proximity-specific content (text, image, and audio) to mobile devices. Through a partnership with the Palmer Museum of Art, they have created a unique media-rich experience for patrons that is driven entirely by their location within the museum. Patrons using this app are automatically presented with narration, ambient sounds (period music, etc.), artwork details and related materials, and behind-the-scenes anecdotes to enrich their visit as they move about the space. This session will detail the trial process of creating interpretive materials using iBeacon technology for a special exhibition housed at the Palmer Museum of Art.

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session:


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