How Penn State museum tackled customer engagement with kiosks

| by Nicole Troxell
How Penn State museum tackled customer engagement with kiosks

The Penn State All-Sports Museum recently installed seven new touchscreen kiosks to change the museum experience for its visitors and allow them to interact with and search for exhibit information such as statistics, photos and video galleries.

The Penn State museum is just one of several recent examples of museums turning to kiosks to improve the visitor experience.

The Benton County Historical Society and Museum in Philomath, Ore.. and The Rockwell Museum of Western Art in Corning, N.Y., also used kiosk and digital signage software for interactive kiosk displays to better engage visitors.

The Penn State museum worked with digital signage and kiosk software provider LiveWire Digital to create kiosks that allowed the public to interact with exhibits.

"The system they put together allows us to store a vast variety of data in one place as well as make all the information searchable by the public," Ken Hickman, director of the museum, told the York (Pa.) Daily Record in a recent article.

“Each touchscreen kiosk allows museum visitors to call up information on all Penn State sports such as year-by-year schedules, team records and information about university athletes that took part in the Olympics,” he said in a recent case study from KioWare, which also provided technology for the exhibit. LiveWire's eConcierge Content Management System built on KioWare kiosk software is designed to allow customers to personalize their museum experience. Users can store information in one interface, where it can be pushed to kiosks and made accessible to the public. 

The Benton County Historical Society and Museum also used KioWare kiosk software for its interactive displays when they made the decision to engage their visitors with more accessible exhibits.

“This touchscreen device … is an important part of making our message easily accessible to our museum visitors," Mark Tolonen, curator of exhibitions for the museum, said in another KioWare case study.

Before the debut of its pottery exhibit, "On Fire," The Rockwell Museum of Western Art tapped Crystal MacKenzie, a New York-based advertising agency, for marketing and exhibit display assistance. Out of that came the "tablet kiosk museum solution," also using the KioWare platform. Visitors interact with a touchscreen tablet in a kiosk that allows them to learn more about specific displays and load information to their phones as they tour the museum. 

Laura Miller, marketing director of KioWare, said, "KioWare is used as way to lockdown the existing websites or applications a museum already has invested in, converting a website or application about an exhibit into an interactive digital display, like in the Benton museum. KioWare can be configured to lockdown any allowed websites or applications into Single App Mode for tablet security. Museums can provide access to applications or sites they select, increasing awareness of available museum tools while restricting access to unapproved content. Museums can advertise the app or site, and Kioware both allows and restricts access to those within the museum."

Museums using kiosks also can use them to collect information such as email addresses and other patron information, with software security that protects privacy by clearing out cookies after each user as well as preventing malware and access to sites that aren't approved.  If a museum wants to administer a survey, for instance, administrators can lock down a kiosk to display just that form, protecting privacy and unauthorized use without additional custom development. Locking down the kiosk operating system with kiosk software, according to Miller, assures kiosks will escape the "blue screen of death," keeping data safe and exhibit information accessible.  

Additionally, KioWare provides custom work to integrate with external devices. For instance, when printing private information it can be configured to retract any printed documents so that the next user is unable to retrieve it. 

Kiosk software can help museums with limited budgets to save money and appeal to a wider audience, Miller said, because exhibits can customize content to reach children and experts alike. Something as simple as modifying the display size of content can increase appeal to the elderly. For example, KioWare allows for the reuse of marketing materials and educational collateral across mediums, targeting audiences to increase engagement with a museum’s exhibit and maximizing a museum’s resources.

Ultimately, kiosks allow museum visitors to gain a richer understanding of art, history and the context of exhibitions.


Topics: Interactive / Touchscreen, Museums, Software

Companies: KioWare, Livewire Digital



Nicole Troxell
Nicole’s work has appeared in business, education, technical, and travel publications. She is currently the editor of QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com. wwwView Nicole Troxell's profile on LinkedIn

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