Open Exhibits targets museums with free software for online exhibition – resource alert

FREE SOFTWARE MUSEUMS ONLINE RESOURCES

Open Exhibits is a new software initiative that allows people to plan and develop their own online exhibits. It is free to download for anyone who is involved in formal or informal education, including museums, researchers, students and universities.

A view of the Collection Viewer template available for download on the Open Exhibits website. Image taken from openexhibits.org.

A view of the Collection Viewer template available for download on the Open Exhibits website. Image taken from openexhibits.org.

Here’s what Open Exhibits have to say about their software:

Open Exhibits is a suite of open source multitouch-enabled exhibit modules and templates with the goal of transforming the way in which museum professionals and other informal educators assemble interactive computer-based exhibits for use in museums and on the Web.

The Open Exhibits core software includes support for multitouch gestures within Adobe Flash and Flex. This software is free for museums, universities, students, and other educational organisations.

Available for Mac OSX, Windows and Linux, the free software is called Open Exhibits Core and is available for download from the Open Exhibits website. There is also a purchasable version available to commercial entities called GestureWorks.

A visual example of how the Open Exhibits modules, templates and exhibits interact with each other and user content. Image taken from openexhibits.org.

A visual example of how the Open Exhibits modules, templates and exhibits interact with each other and user content. Image taken from openexhibits.org.

Once the software has been downloaded, users can access “modules” and “templates” to help them build their “exhibit”. Modules are designed for people with prior knowledge of web design and Flash and can be used to build templates. Less experienced users can start from an already built template and just insert their content. There is currently one template and seven modules available online for download. We think it would also be great to have access to user-designed templates and modules but that doesn’t seem to exist at the moment.

There is a lot of support available on the site from tutorials and manuals to a “gesture library” and industry research findings.

Open Exhibits are also running a partner museum project that could be worth following. They will develop six exhibits with three museums over the next three years, of which the source code and content will be made available to other software users. The museums are likely to develop a version of the Collection Viewer template. Most interestingly for art museums,

Both the Natural History Museum and the Maxwell [Museum] have extensive permanent collections, so the Collection Viewer will allow them to display artifacts and fossils that wouldn’t otherwise be seen by visitors.

Members from the Open Exhibits partner musuems project gather for a meeting. Image taken from opensource.org.

Members from the Open Exhibits partner musuems project gather for a meeting. Image taken from opensource.org.

KK/KN

Related Topics: research, resources, galleries work the Web

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Comments

Open Exhibits targets museums with free software for online exhibition – resource alert — 2 Comments

  1. Thanks, Emma. We’re glad you found the post useful and welcome the resource you mention. We’re very interested in further exploring open source use in contemporary art so keep checking back for more posts on this topic.

  2. What a fascinating post. I will definitely look into this tool. I found this resource on museum open source software from CHIN that I found useful while looking into what open source is available. It might be interesting to others who are doing the same as it gives tips on applying open source software in your museum and also provides links to other resources.

    Thanks again for post!
    Emma

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