Troy Lachance and Brad Baer to speak at MCN Conference in November

This year’s annual Museum Computer Network (MCN) conference will feature talks from our Executive Creative Director, Troy Lachance, and Director of Strategy, Brad Baer. Every year MCN brings together cultural heritage professionals interested in using digital technologies to advance their organization. This year in New Orleans, conference goers will be discussing how museums can use technology to emphasize inclusion, accessibility, and agency, from a diverse range of perspectives.

Cadets will be presenting the following sessions:

Addressing the Elephant in the Room: Pivotal Story Talk-backs at the Baseball Hall of Fame  

Who: Brad Baer and Donny Lowe, ‎Director of Digital Strategy at National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Where: Maurepas Room

When: Thursday November 3, 9–9:15 am

What: As museums shift their approach from talking-at to talking-with visitors there’s an increasing need for ways to engage patrons beyond stickies notes. The recently installed “Pivotal Stories” Interactives at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY do just that by inviting visitors to question where they stand on some of the most controversial issues in the history of the sport including steroids, strikes, globalization, and Pete Rose’s ban from the game. Rather than directly asking where visitors think they fall on complex matters they respond to questions, quotes, and videos targeting complex facets and designed to build empathy and understanding of potential motives. An algorithm then places the patron on a spectrum in relationship to other visitors showing how intricate the issues really are and where they fall in relation to other visitors. The installation also dovetails into a larger communications strategy allowing for content to be shared and distributed between the interactives, websites, and social media both inside and outside of the Hall of Fame. The system is built on a WordPress CMS allowing the Hall of Fame to easily adjust questions to based on specific events or changes in the game. This future-proofs the experience as new issues arise and more information is brought forth


Go Flight – Transforming the Visitor Digital Experience  

Who: Troy Lachance, Victoria Portway & Margaret Weitekamp of the National Air and Space Museum

Where: Conde / Frontenac Room

When: Thursday November 3, 4–4:30 pm

What: The National Air and Space Museum recently completed a major renovation of its main entry hall and exhibition space, the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall. In conjunction with this effort, we launched a new Museum-wide interpretive strategy and an integrated digital visitor experience targeted to audiences both inside the Museum and beyond its walls. A new interactive wall, mobile app, and redesigned website, along with our social media channels, create an “experience loop” whereby audiences move seamlessly across platforms and enjoy a continuously engaging experience regardless of how, when, or where they enter. The digital experience provides a story-based exploration of the Museum’s themes and collections, enables audiences to personalize their experience, and motivates ongoing engagement with our content and the Museum. This project represents the first time digital experience was deeply integrated into the conceptual planning of a permanent exhibition and a major shift toward a more human-centered, museum-wide approach to visitor experience design. The result is a scalable interpretive foundation for a massive transformation of every exhibition in the Museum over the next several years. The panel will discuss how this new digital experience was conceived, executed, evaluated with visitors, and its transformative impact on several areas of museum practice.


Van Gogh’s Bedrooms  

Who: Troy Lachance, Michael Neault, Director of Experience & Access for the Art Institute of Chicago

Where: Rosalie / St.Claude Room

When: Friday November 4, 9:15–9:30 am

What: A recent exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, Van Gogh’s Bedrooms, featured all three versions of Van Gogh’s masterwork together for the very first time in North America. Bluecadet partnered with the Art Institute to create several engaging interactive experiences that enhance visitor exploration of the artist’s work. We challenged visitors to go deeper by uncovering a more authentic, human side of Van Gogh’s life and work. A reconstruction of Van Gogh’s famous bedroom served as a canvas for digital projections of artfully animated sketches, colorful brushstrokes, and quotes from Van Gogh’s personal letters. Two interactive screens allowed visitors to conduct synchronized exploration of the paintings in a way that is intuitive yet innovative. By pinching, zooming and panning the three paintings simultaneously, visitors could uncover findings made by the conservation team—revealing insights into Van Gogh’s process and varying techniques, as well as recent scientific research on the three Bedroom paintings. The result is an innovative, intimate look at one of the most beloved and often-misunderstood artists of all time. In the first three days of its opening, the Art Institute welcomed 14,608 visitors to the exhibition, the biggest opening weekend for a special exhibition at the museum in 15 years. An inventive marketing campaign, which included a listing on Airbnb with an offer to sleep in Van Gogh’s bedroom, helped fuel the exhibition’s success. The museum averaged over 4,600 visitors per day—the highest daily attendance since 2001 and 60% higher than the projected numbers.

View the rest of the conference’s schedule here.