blog

tenement museum response

i'd never been to the tenement museum before our visit last week so i was really excited about the trip.  i found the visit really informative, and our guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the place and the people who used to live there.  however, i also found myself zoning out at times during the tour and i wonder if there are ways by which that might have been prevented.  it felt like a lot of information was being thrown at me all at once, and it occurred to me that maybe i didn't really need to be in the actual tenement in order to get this information.  the location (as well as the objects around us) seemed almost incidental to the visit, and the act of listening to the guide talk seemed like the most important thing we could do while we were there. one thing i do wish (and i spoke to a friend about this afterwards as well) is that visitors were able to go to the museum and experience it without a guide, or without being on a tour.  as marianne pointed out multiple times prior to the visit and afterwards, the way they have the visits structured now depends so greatly on the quality of the guides that the experience may be really uneven on different occasions.  i think it would be interesting to integrate some kind of interactive feature -- either through mobile, augmented reality, or through dedicated "iPad tours" or the like -- that allows you to scan objects in the apartments to get more information about the family that lived there or see photographs of what life was like in the early 20th century.  the way the visit was structured made it seem like a really basic "show and tell" session and i think there could be a lot of interesting ways to engage the visitor and really get them to envision the history of the tenement instead of just looking at photographs and standing in a room filled with antique objects.