From Content to Play: Family-Oriented Interactive Spaces in Art and History Museums
June 4–5, 2005

About the Symposium

This symposium was inspired by the renovation of the Getty Museum's own interactive space for family audiences. Museums often approach such spaces with diverse goals, objectives, methods, and processes; and meet with varied outcomes and measures of success.

The symposium brought together professionals whose work focuses on or informs interactive spaces designed for family audiences in art and history museums. Participants addressed the ways that these spaces can best respond to the needs, learning styles, and experiences that family audiences bring to their museum visits; as well as the merits and challenges posed by different design approaches.

Papers Presented

Opening Presentation

Peggy Fogelman, Assistant Director and Head of Education and Interpretive Programs, J. Paul Getty Museum

Panel 1: The Role of the Object: Using and Interpreting Art and Artifacts in Family-Oriented Interactive Spaces

Jean Sousa, Director of Interpretive Exhibitions and Family Programs, Art Institute of Chicago
"Learning for the Fun of It"  PDF (190KB)

Andrew Alvarez, Museums Access Consultant
"Please Touch: The Use of Tactile Learning in Art Exhibits"  PDF (24KB)

Kathryn Blake, Curator for Education, Phoenix Art Museum
"Teaching Museum Behaviors in an Interactive Gallery"  PDF (32KB)

Marcia Z. MacRae, Interdisciplinary Arts Specialist, DuPage Children's Museum
"Getting Children to Look: The Importance of Knowing Your Audience on Object Choice and Installation Design"  PDF (207KB)

Panel 2: Understanding and Responding to Our Audiences

Julia Forbes, Head of Museum Interpretation, High Museum of Art; Kathryn Hill, Principal, Museum Services Consulting; Marianna Adams, Senior Associate, Institute for Learning Innovation
"Understanding Audiences: The Creation of the High Museum of Art Family Learning Gallery"  PDF (1,317KB)

Anne Henderson, Director of Education, and Melissa Certo-Hayes, ArtQuest Educator, Frist Center for the Visual Arts
"Keeping it Fresh: How Do We Keep Visitors Returning for More?"  PDF (38KB)

Cynthia Moreno, Curator of Education, Speed Art Museum; Beverly Dywan, Principal, Design in Three Dimensions
"They Are "Content to Play": Creating Responsive Interactive Spaces"  PDF (379KB)

Panel 3: Creative Play: Collaborating with Artists and Art Schools on Interactive Galleries

Robert Sain, Director, LACMALab, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Frederick Fisher, Architect, Frederick Fisher and Partners Architects
"LACMALab 2002, MAKING: A Collaborative Reinvention of the Family Museum Dynamic"  PDF (28KB)

Lisa Buck
"When Artists Make Interactive Works of Art for Children: The Contemporary Arts Center's UnMuseum®"  PDF (33KB)

Panel 4: The Architect's Perspective

John Frane, Architect, and Hadrian Predock, Architect, Predock_Frane Architects
"Design and Boundaries: Exploring the Boundary Relations within the Context of Interactive Family-Oriented Museum Space"  PDF (42KB)

Peter Exley, Architect, and Sharon Exley, architectureisfun, Inc. [Presented by Peter Exley]
"Crafting Content, Play and Space through Participation"  PDF (41KB)

Sherry Hoffman and Todd Erlandson, (M)Arch.
"Designing Spaces for Children and Families: Architecture Inspired by Identity and Educational Philosophy"  PDF (44KB)

Panel 5: Looking at Ourselves: How Values and Philosophies Shape Spaces

Gail Ringel, Vice President for Exhibits and Production, Boston Children's Museum
"Designing Exhibits for Kids: What Are We Thinking?"  PDF (59KB)

Susan Hoppenfeld, Family and Youth Program Coordinator, Vancouver Art Gallery
"Families and Art Galleries: How Values and Philosophies Shape Spaces"  PDF (48KB)

Rebecca Edwards, Education Specialist for Family Audiences, J. Paul Getty Museum
"The Getty Family Room: Unpacking the Ideas and Assumptions behind the Development of an Interactive Space"  PDF (55KB)

Panel 6: High-Tech Versus Low-Tech Interactives: Assessing the Merits of Both

Andrew Anway, President, Amaze Design, Inc.; D. Lynn McRainey, Director of Education, Chicago Historical Society; John Russick, Curator, Chicago Historical Society; Charles Steinfield, Professor, Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media at Michigan State University [Presented by D. Lynn McRainey and John Russick]
"Investigating Technology to Connect Children With History at the Chicago Historical Society"  PDF (32KB)

Susie Wise and Sheila Vyas, Stanford University
"ExART (Exploring with Artists' Real Tools): A Table-Based Interface for Families; Using Tangible Input to Connect Works of Art"  PDF (403KB)

Patterson Williams, Master Teacher for Asian and Textile Art, Denver Art Museum
"Family Spaces and Activities: A Low Tech Possibility"  PDF (27KB)

Closing Presentation

Marianna Adams and Jessica Luke, Senior Researchers, Institute for Learning Innovation
"From Heart to Head to Hand: A Synthesis of Issues & Strategies Raised at the From Content to Play Symposium"  PDF (89KB)

From Content to Play: A Symposium