The Ohio Glass Museum in Lancaster, Ohio aims to engage and educate its visitors on the fascinating history and universal allure of glass. Mary Travis, museum spokesperson, describes it as "a beautiful, ever-evolving facility dedicated to the preservation of the many and diverse products of the glass industry, housing glass collections of local, regional, and national importance, with glass blowing studio demonstrations." The museum relies on experienced docents, visual presentations of glass artifacts, and written stories about these works’ creation and use to advance that goal.
Now, the museum is embracing new possibilities through technology. The museum decided to add iPad-based kiosks to display images, text, and videos for their permanent and changing exhibits, setting up a project team consisting of Pattie Frohnapfel, Curator; Anne Kiphen, Art Director; and Mary Travis, Financial Administrator. With the help of two grants and the overall coordination of the design firm Hilferty & Associates, Kosada created the software underlying the new interactive exhibits.
Kosada created an exhibit management system to enable the museum's glass experts to put together text, images, and videos to create their own exhibits for the kiosks. Leveraging the Drupal content management system and the iOS SDK, Kosada set up a user interface for museum staff to edit exhibits on a desktop computer and deploy them to the seven iPads. Kosada then configured and tested the iPads and trained the staff on using the system.
“The kiosks have really become a wonderful option for our visitors, for those who have limited time, and for those who want to take their time and see everything. An equally great feature of the kiosks is that it gives our docents more flexibility, more time to answer questions, and the ability to better handle a very busy crowd of visitors who arrive at staggered times." – Mary Travis
In addition, the kiosks have supported social distancing during the CoVID-19 pandemic.
Kosada employee Steve Mokris, who worked on the exhibit management system and kiosk app, noted, "Our goal was to build a system that would give the Ohio Glass Museum's enthusiastic volunteers the flexibility to create a wide variety of interactive exhibits. By providing streamlined page layout and automatic deployment, we wanted to enable the glass experts to focus on developing their content, without getting bogged down in design details and technical underpinnings."
Jean Cackowski, the Kosada employee who worked the visual design, said, "We wanted the iPads to have a distinctive look that coordinated with the museum's logo, while still providing easy navigation and readability."