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Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Inc. (New York, NY 10002-3102)
Annie Polland (Project Director: April 2015 to May 2017)
Museums and Digital Storytelling

A three-day professional development workshop on best practices for using digital storytelling to convey humanities content in museum settings and a website to disseminate workshop findings to the broader museum field.

Museum experts have acknowledged that "books on a wall," even when crafted by the most scholarly experts in a given field, sometimes fails to reach audiences. Storytelling, on the other hand, can become a powerful way to convey humanities interpretation of art, science, design and history to a wide range of museum audiences. Now, digital storytelling is in the air, upping the ante and promising to enhance these connections, to tell multiple stories and perhaps convey multiple interpretations of those stories to diverse audiences. As attractive as this is, pinning down a definition for digital storytelling as it applies to museums is difficult. Museum professionals know they should be exploring it, but what, exactly, is digital storytelling? Is it an app, a website, an interactive, a video? Does it need to comprise an entire exhibit or can it punctuate a more traditional exhibit? Can it truly prompt different interactions with museum space and other museum visitors? And if so, are there best practices that can be used as guidelines? Most important, how can museums ensure that digital storytelling's attractions enhance humanities themes as opposed to distracting from them? The Lower East Side Tenement Museum proposes a three-day professional development workshop for museum professionals to explore innovative uses of digital technology in the museum setting. Hosted by the Tenement Museum in New York City in the spring of 2016, this workshop will equip up to 20 museum curators with a deeper understanding of the pedagogy and interpretive tools necessary for effective digital storytelling.

Project fields:

Cooperative Agreements and Special Projects (Public Programs)

Public Programs

$100,000 (approved)
$99,749 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2015 – 9/30/2016