The Cobra Museum

Context

The mission of the Cobra Museum is to both educate the public on the legacy of the international Cobra Movement and further the intellectual heritage of the Movement’s artists. The Cobra is committed to innovation in their curatorial practice.

In collaboration with Claudio Martella, this project explored the use of data on the movements, attitudes, and experiences of museum visitors to inform curatorial practice. We received funding to support research assistants. I acted as the design researcher on the project and trained junior researchers.

Our Process

In order to prototype a tool for curators, we carried out a series of studies. We began with interviews. I defined the protocol and together we talked to curators, marketing professionals, and exhibition designers to assess needs. Concurrently, Claudio and a research assistant instrumented the exhibition and invited users to wear a low-cost sensor and complete a survey during the visit. Based on the data we developed a set of data visualizations of visitor behavior within an exhibition and tested these visual “prototypes” with museum staff to assess their utility and inform design.

Prototype testing revealed an increased awareness of how the exhibition space functions, and what types of pieces attract and maintain visitors attention. It also revealed distinct types of visitor behavior in the exhibition hall.

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This project was funding by the Network Institute and was featured in the Volkskrant, a major Dutch daily newspaper.

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Sample visualizations