Stanley Spencer Gallery goes live!

iMuse partner, the Stanley Spencer Gallery, Cookham, has gone live today with its first AACT iPad installed for visitor use.

Chrissy Rosentahl, volunteer and project lead in the Gallery, ruminates on the practicalities of using a shared iPad in real life.

We launched today in the Gallery …. Valentine’s Day! Much love…. I have spent more hours cutting up tennis balls, sticking Velcro to the floor, unsticking Velcro from the floor and scratching my head about security than I have spent sorting out content – but I suppose that’s the point of the exercise.

Working with iMuse has been great – because it has inpsired us and motivated us to use the iPads in the Gallery to deliver extra content. Now we have to see if we have delivered something our visitors actually want.

I have just been training today’s Custodian to unplug and wake up the iPad and to enable Guided Access. That has not been without its problems. For fingers unused to touch screen ‘click the Home Button three times’ is not as simple as it sounds…. Do you do it with a finger nail slowly, with the pad of the finger quickly…?? It depends…..

I have written instructions – which are probably more confusing than necessary as I have tried to cover all possible problems – so it’s back to the drawing board on that – I have left the Custodian in the Gallery with the feedback forms (simple) and their first visitor (a woman in her 70’s) – who immediately showed interest and picked it up….

More later…

British 10K Run 13 July 2014

Fancy a fantastic run with our small, friendly team through the best sites of London?


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Here’s some runners from Steve Simon who we worked with on one of our iMuse/Ure Museum projects to get you inspired!

[contact-form to=’’ subject=’10K run form from aact website’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Thinking about a text free touchscreen interface

iMuse is part of the Arts Council England World Stories project in the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology.

Working with a student panel, 14-16 year-olds from three schools, Guja Bandini, the Museum’s education officer, and professional animator Steve Simons, iMuse is tasked with providing an iPad app. This will bring together  material the project produces, interpreting myths in a fun and engaging way based on an object within each display case.

The overall Project is about young people engaging with the objects in novel ways with iMuse having a particular interest in ensuring accessibility/inclusion are considered. Having an app is a means to an end, not a primary aim, so we’d agreed to use the mini web app previously tried in both the Museum of English Rural Life and the Ure. This was initially designed for use with QR codes on object labels, with a simple, layered interface using symbols and only a modicum of text. In the Ure, this could be used alongside a printed map.

While the interface did seem to provide a reasonably accessible way into finding out about objects (, several things have set us experimenting again.

  • a comment from a teacher-participant that text on the main pages could prove a barrier
  • the decision by the Panel that Sophie the owl should act as guide in some way
  • the difficulty of interpreting a map
  • observing that visitors will experiment with a touchscreen without much instruction (e.g. the Ladybird book in the MERL)
  • the open invitation to create what materials you like about an object/myth (i.e. unknown numbers/types will arrive)

So, we’ve stepped away from mimicking the old ways (buttons looking like you are controlling something like a cassette recorder). Instead we are experimenting with an interface which has no written text initially, but has photos of the actual display cases to help orientation. Sophie as the cursor/guide, following the visitor’s finger, flies past these, settling on an object when requested. The visitor decides which bits of info they want to look at and can easily ‘fly back/forward’ to other cabinets.


It’s not sensible to decide the exact interface until we know what material is going to be provided, but already we have some good ideas coming in about highlighting objects, having audio/visual ‘pop-up instructions, and ensuring any text-based items have audio versions, and any visual items have audio descriptions.

There’s masses to think about here, with potential for more use of the media such as signing or captions on video.

There are also practical considerations, not least iMuse’s very limited technical coding ability and our requirement that this remains a web-type rather than native app. The good thing is there is time for us all to discuss the possibilities and to do some trialling before the launch in early Summer.

All comments about the interface welcome.