Gallery One, Content and Experience Design


Interactive Installation Spaces are not suited to all artworks. Gallery One was originally installed with Richard Long’s Cornwall Circle, an engaging work in terms of visual interest and storytelling. Media assets were prepared to highlight and provide transparency into the art installation process. However, the physical reality, visitor egress and circumnavigation proved to be overwhelming and unmanageable in a space with visitors encouraged to physically interact with the Sculpture lens, or others wanting to make a beeline to the 1930s lens. CMA’s acquisition of Wilson’s To Die Upon a Kiss provided Gallery One with an equally engaging work of art that would not disrupt the visitors experience in the Gallery or cause guards moments of anxiety.

Content Development: Not Just the Same Old Strategies

While the initial push to complete the first round of content creation at the beginning is often the focus, it is also important to remember and plan for changes, additions, and replacements, as well as continuing to create new content that will help the project continue to feel fresh.

Sometimes the changes are unexpected: for example, several of the people who were interviewed for ArtLens had changes to their titles after the content had been completed, which prompted a new round of edits and reviews on content that had been in the completed pile.

The text and multimedia content in ArtLens represents hundreds of hours or work by Education and Interpretation staff, and includes a multitude of steps and processes, from object selection to conducting interviews, researching the collection, finding additional interviewees, securing rights, slideshow production, creating credit lines, scheduling, production tracking, and many rounds of review. Staffing will need to continue to ensure the freshness and accuracy of content.

Outreach beyond the Museum Walls

An annual CMA highlight is the summer Solstice event which celebrates the year’s shortest night with a host of acclaimed international music groups attracting more than 5,000 party goers. In 2013, the museum’s stunning collection served as a dynamic theatrical backdrop for the Solstice, as the Gallery One Collection Wall was projected on the south façade of the museum’s Beaux Arts-style 1916 building at 8 times its normal size.

The wall display included artworks on view in the just-opened North Wing galleries—including Art of the Americas, Art of North American Indians, Textiles, Japanese, and Chinese—and teased party-goers with previews from the Korean, Indian, and Southeast Asian collections. After seven years of the museum’s gallery renovation, the entire collection was re-introduced to the community on the wall of the original 1916 building.

Gallery One has captured the attention of other institutions whose focus is on engaging and educating the public as well, and collaborations with these partners have enabled the CMA to expand the Gallery One experience beyond the Museum’s walls. One example is the new Cuyahoga County Public Library’s interactive “Tech Wall,” which incorporates Gallery One interactives and the ArtLens app.

Visitors browse the CMA’s digital collection in the library and are inspired are inspired to visit the museum. The CCPL’s  “Tech Wall” objectives were to provide a safe and neutral hands-on experience with technology; to inspire curiosity regarding technologies and digital services that may move someone to embrace that new technology and to expose and promote the digital offerings available in the library’s collection (or in the case of ArtLens,

Reaction has been positive and has increased library interaction and introduced the museum to new potential audiences and visitors. Library staff are adding “Tech Wall Tours” at the end of basic computer classes and including a demonstration/promotion of the CMA portion and plans are underway to create a kids/teens education program on ArtLens and Gallery One this summer.

The collaboration between CCPL and CMA has drawn the attention and visits from other library teams and leaders and inspired them to explore similar partnerships in their own communities. The Cleveland Museum of Art will continue to use interactives throughout northeast Ohio in places such as hospitals, libraries and possibly our airport to connect the community to our collection and drive them to our free museum.

See also: Immersive experiences, Gallery One and the Permanent Collection – Dana Allen-Griel’s notes from the MW@CMA Deep Dive workshop, led by Caroline Goeser, CMA Director of Education and Interpretation, Seema Rao, Director of Intergenerational Learning, Stephen Harrison, Curator of Decorative Arts