As a follow-up to our ASK-guided gallery tours for Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving and Pride Month, the ASK team has created a new tour as a tie-in for the special exhibition Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion. This time, we focused on the Museum’s fifth floor, where the Cardin show is installed. We wanted to plan something that visitors can try before or after seeing this exhibition, or even as a freestanding option.
In preparation, we discussed our learnings from previous themed tours and established a few small but important goals for the structure and promotion of this engagement activity. Specifically, we wanted to manage visitor expectations by specifying the tour location and keeping that area clearly defined (just one floor, in this case); indicating in advance what the format would be (i.e., texting/chatting); and offering the user a prompt word to send as their first message.
Our palm card for this new tour includes all the above information, succinctly stated, as well as a detail of a favorite painting from our American Art collections. For card handout, we’re concentrating on the fifth floor. Cards are displayed in a rack near the elevator that visitors are taking to reach that floor. The cards are also placed at the ticket check-in kiosk for Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion, where Visitor Experience ticketing staff can hand them out and explain them. Our ASK Ambassadors are also promoting the tour activity as they circulate around the Museum, of course!
Once a visitor begins the tour, the ten stops encompass works in a range of media from different locations and time periods, from a Chiriqui gold pendant (circa 1000-1500) to Luigi Lucioni’s portrait of artist Paul Cadmus (1927). For each one, the ASK team offers a few interesting facts, sometimes touching on past trends in cosmetics and grooming as well as costume history.
We can also make occasional parallels between historical clothing, jewelry, and accessories and Cardin’s designs, to complement users’ visits to that exhibition or to inspire them to check it out in the future.
So far, we’ve had some positive user response. One visitor thanked us by writing, “This has been terrific, a great interactive tour. Definitely encouraged me to look closer, which I do like and tend to do.” We’ll be tracking visitor use and reactions throughout the run of this exhibition, to be shared at a later date!
Jessica Murphy, Manager of Visitor Engagement, joined the Brooklyn Museum in 2015 as a member of the ASK team. In her current position she leads the team in their interactions with the Museum’s visitors through the ASK app and coordinates their ongoing training and development. Jessica received her B.A. from Fordham University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Art History (with a concentration in American Art) from the University of Delaware. She previously worked as Research Associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (contributing to exhibitions and publication such as “Alfred Stieglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O’Keeffe” and “The American West in Bronze”), as Contractual Educator at the Met, and as Curatorial Assistant at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has also worked as a freelance writer on cultural topics. She welcomes any opportunity, in any medium, to connect people and art.