Brent beat me to the punch with his Picasso iPod post. Much to learn from this project which gave us an opportunity to compare the same tour on iPods and cell phones. I was waiting for the phone stats and survey results but you’ll have to come back for that information.
As Brent said, the iPods were a huge success. In the course of the exhibition (June 16-September 9), over 3,500 visitors borrowed the iPods (25-23 devices available for free and loaded with the exhibition tour only). In busy periods, people queued for the tour. And in these same busy periods, visitor services found the loan process almost more than they could manage (witness the drawing on the envelop accompanying the last bunch of checkout sheets).* I sought a donation from Apple (they gave us 5 iPods, we bought 20) but fact is they should have paid us for this kind of promotion. In addition to providing a rewarding interpretative experience, we taught a new generation how to use the iPod–a common refrain heard at the front desk, “ now I can tell my grandchildren I used an iPod!”
Despite their popularity, the iPods will only be used for special projects (3 remain available for the permanent collection tour but ultimately we prefer visitors bring their own hardware). That said, Walker is working with Antenna Audio and SFMOMA to produce a multimedia guide for our upcoming Frida Kahlo exhibition, available on Antenna’s new XP-vision player for $6.
* This drawing is in no way a reflection of the demeanor of front-line staff who are often complemented for exceptional customer service. “Kill the iPod” courtesy the artist Joe Rizzo.