Archive for the 'Visitor contributions' Category

Update: Urban Wildlife Project

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

A few weeks ago we wrote about our new prototype project, the Urban Wildlife Photography Challenge. We wanted to create an exhibit where the content (in this case, photos) came from the community, and where visitors could interact with the content and add their experiences, too. Working with Maria Mortati from Gyroscope, Inc. (the wonderful crew who’s helping us design the exhibit master plan for the new Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center), we came up with the idea to create what we’re calling the Urban Wildlife Photography Challenge. The exhibit opened on October 17th.

Using Flickr as our “home base,” we asked the community to send us photos of wild animals or plants in urban settings here in northern Colorado. We received 120 submissions from Fort Collins, Estes Park, and Timnath — photos of everything from snapping turtles (who knew we had snapping turtles in Fort Collins?) to butterflies, and of course the ever-popular elk on the golf course in Estes Park (my personal favorite).

Our fantastic exhibit designer Cory Gundlach came up with a clip rail system where the printed photos from Flickr could be displayed on the wall in the prototype exhibit area (see photos below). And this is where the fun really gets going: beyond just looking at and admiring these great photos, visitors can rearrange them on the wall, add Post-It note comments and tags to the photos, and add their own content by drawing a picture of an urban wildlife encounter they’ve had, or writing a “field note” about it.

One of the most important pieces of information we want to capture from each of these contributions is where it happened. We asked that photos submitted through Flickr be “geotagged,” and that drawings and field notes left by visitors to the exhibit also include a location. Each photo, field note, and drawing has a number assigned to it, and a corresponding number is placed on the large maps on the back wall of the exhibit. The effect is really cool — we’re really starting to see clusters of activity, and not surprisingly, those clusters are popping up in a lot of Fort Collins’ wonderful urban natural areas.

There are a lot of things about this exhibit that we’re really excited about — and I think the biggest one is that every day, it’s different. We’ll be adding new photos as we get them, and every day we’re seeing new drawings and field notes that visitors have contributed. It seems like people are really digging it. People have been a little shy about actually rearranging the pictures, but hopefully that will get going soon as well. Or I may just go arrange everything by color, as I’ve been so tempted to do!

An exhibit built by the community, and curated by the community — we’re loving it. Come be a part of it too. You can upload your urban wildlife photos to our Urban Wildlife Photography Challenge Flickr group, or come to the Museum and draw a picture, write a field note, and interact with the photos already on display. It’s your exhibit — go for it!

The Urban Wildlife exhibit, with photos on the left wall and maps on the back wall

The Urban Wildlife exhibit, with photos on the left wall and maps on the back wall

The clip rail system

The clip rail system

Photos, field notes, and drawings with map numbers

Photos, field notes, and drawings with map numbers

The Fort Collins map

The Fort Collins map

A visitor-contributed drawing

A visitor-contributed drawing

Field notes

Field notes

Photo with a Post-It tag

Photo with a Post-It tag

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Calling all photographers!

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

urbanwildlife
As we plan for the new Museum (which will break ground in 2010), we’re launching pilot projects to test with our visitors. Our first pilot project is a photography challenge, where we will be experimenting with image display, and how people interact with photos in the Museum.

We need your help!

For our first project, we’re looking for photos of urban wildlife from the northern Colorado area. We’re asking participants to add their photos to our Flickr group, which you can find at www.flickr.com/groups/1178989@N20/. Read through the instructions on the group page, then start uploading!

The Museum will begin showing this photo project on Saturday, October 17th. Come check out the photos, add your own stories of urban wildlife in the “Field Notes” section, or exercise your artistic skills by drawing a picture of an urban wildlife encounter (raccoon tails hanging out of a garbage can, anyone?). This pilot project will be running through the end of the year, so participate early and participate often!

“A place is a story happening many times”

by Brent Carmack, Assistant Director, and Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

One goal of every museum is to provide opportunities for visitors to make connections between what they see and learn at the museum with their own personal stories. A new opportunity to make those connections at the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Science Center went up a few months ago in conjunction with the opening of the Soapstone Prairie Natural Area.

One of the most impressive things about Soapstone is simply the vast landscape that overwhelms you when you visit that place. To know that people have lived and thrived on that beautiful, harsh, sometimes unforgiving landscape for over 12,000 years can be humbling and inspiring. For the people who lived there, that landscape was a part of their identities. For most folks, their own personal landscape helps define who they are and how they view the world.

At the Museum we give people a chance to learn more about the Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and its history, but we are also interested in learning about our visitors’ own stories. We posed a thought and a question to our visitors and gave them the opportunity to tell us a little about themselves.

“A place is a story happening many times.”  What place tells your story, and why?

This simple question has generated tons of responses, some funny, some sad, some whimsical, others simple. Responses come from all ages and several languages. Each response shares a little something of themselves, a gift to others who might read their story. Each response is an opportunity for further connection with the Museum and a chance for a little reflective thought—all goals of any museum experience.

Visitor's responses to the question, What place tells your story, and why?

Visitor's responses to the question, What place tells your story, and why?

We’ve collected some of our favorite responses and put them together in an interactive VoiceThread slideshow. Take a look at what some of our visitors have shared with us. The slideshow will advance automatically, or you can use the large arrow buttons in the lower corners to move forward and backward at your own pace.

We would love to hear from you, too — you can participate in this project even if you can’t come to the Museum. Here’s how:

  1. You can add your comment to any of the messages in the slideshow by clicking the “Comment” button at the lower edge of the slideshow frame. You’ll see that a couple of us have posted some comments ourselves. You can type your comment, or record a spoken comment and upload it to the slideshow. You’ll need to register for a VoiceThread account to do this, but it’s easy (really! Just your name, email address, and password) and free (bonus!).
  2. The very last slide in the show is where you can add your own story of place. Again, you can type in your comment or record it and upload it.

Or — you don’t have to respond at all, just pause for a moment and ponder the meaning of place to you.

(But we’d be delighted if you did respond!)

More music

by Terry Burton, Digital Media Coordinator

More music for your Wednesday — Education Coordinator Toby Swaford tipped us off to this amazing example of collective art created on the web: a project called “In B Flat.” It just held me mesmerized for the last 20 minutes. I won’t say anything more — just check it out for yourself!

Bflat


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