My projects use technology to connect people and create personal experiences.
My goal is to embed visitor-centered thinking throughout every aspect of the organization with the goal to deepen a visitor’s engagement before, during, and after a visit.
I joined the staff at the Barnes Foundation as the Deputy Director of Digital Initiatives and Chief Experience Officer in 2016. Follow along as I publish progress on the challenges in moving to a new organization, the mandate to work using a different model, and practical solutions being deployed as short term solutions with larger term strategies on the horizon.
ASK Brooklyn Museum
Visitors ask questions using their mobile devices and experts answer in real time.
ASK Brooklyn Museum was developed with a user-centered approach for concept, design, and build with agile planning methodology being used to test ideas directly with visitors. The data from the project—in the form of questions and answers—is used to help the Museum learn ways it can improve upon the visitor experience. ASK is available on both iOS and Android and it uses location aware technology in the galleries to indicate where a visitor is standing. ASK is a three year project funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of their Bloomberg Connects program. ASK Brooklyn Museum won two American Association of Museums MUSE Awards including a gold award in the Mobile Applications category and the Jim Blackaby Memorial Award, The Blackaby is the top honor at AAM and recognizes a project that exemplifies the power of creative imagination in the use of media and technology—a project that has a powerful effect on its audience and stands above the others in inventiveness and quality.
GO: a community-curated open studio project
DECEMBER 1, 2012–FEBRUARY 24, 2013
Artists across Brooklyn opened their studios so the public could decide who would be featured in an exhibition.
During GO, 1,708 Brooklyn-based artists opened their studios to the community during one weekend in September. An estimated 18,000 people made approximately 147,000 studio visits in order to nominate artists for inclusion in a group exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.
Split Second: Indian Paintings
JULY 13, 2011–JANUARY 1, 2012
Public participation created an exhibition of Indian paintings from the Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection.
Taking its inspiration from the critically acclaimed book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell, this online experiment and resulting installation explored how our initial reaction to a work of art is affected by what we know, what we’re asked, and what we’re told about the object in question.
4,617 participants created 176,394 ratings and spent 7 minutes and 32 seconds on average in the online activity. Demographics of those participating in the activity were analyzed by age, gender, experience level, location, and completion rates. The project culminated with an exhibition where visitors were able to view the paintings that generated the most controversial and dynamic responses during the evaluation process, accompanied by a visualization and analysis of the data collected.
Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition
JUNE 27–AUGUST 10, 2008
A crowdsourced photography exhibition inspired by James Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds.
Click! explored whether a diverse crowd is wiser at making decisions than expert individuals,
3,344 participants cast 410,089 evaluations on the 389 photographs submitted during the open call. On average, an evaluator looked at 135 works and viewed an image for 22 seconds before casting an evaluation. 3,098 comments were given during the evaluation period.
Click! culminated in an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, where the artworks were installed according to their relative ranking from the juried process. Visitors were able to see how different groups within the crowd evaluated the same works of art. The results were analyzed and discussed by experts in the fields of art, online communities, and crowd theory.
WikiPop, 25 Articles in English on iPads in Seductive Subversion
Curators wrote Wikipedia articles on 25 artists and iPads displayed them in the gallery.
Seductive Subversion explored the impact of women artists on the traditionally male-dominated field of Pop art. The exhibition team had a plethora of research about each of the 25 artists featured in the show and wanted a way to share that with the public. Writing directly to Wikipedia allowed the research to reach the broadest audience possible. Additionally, the articles were displayed at the Brooklyn Museum during the exhibition; 32,000 visitors saw the show with roughly 12,000 sessions on the iPads.
Vishnu: The Avatar and the iPad
iPad kiosks offered a supplementary path allowing visitors to engage with one of Vishnu's many avatars.
Upon entry toVishnu: Hinduism’s Blue-Skinned Savior, visitors used iPads to take a quiz to determine which avatar would follow them through the exhibition. Once an avatar was assigned, visitors could take a physical tag bearing his image. Inside the exhibition iPads were located in front of specific artworks, where visitors could use the touchscreen to try to pick out the avatar from a large group depicted in the original work of art. 8,629 avatars were issued to visitors via the quiz kiosks indicating 28% of the people coming to the show took part in the activity. The activity was accompanied by Sanjay Patel’s illustrations known for his striking, modern depictions of Hindu deities.
1stfans: a socially networked museum membership
1stfans membership was designed to be an interactive relationship with the Brooklyn Museum.
The program, which ran from 2009 until 2012, was priced at just $20 per year. Members connected through social media profiles and a series of benefits which included monthly in person meetups at the Museum and an online "Twitter Art Feed."
The Twitter Art Feed was an exclusive benefit of 1stfans membership; the feed featured tweets by contemporary artists every month and has been archived since the decommissioning of the program. Meetups focused on participants getting to know one another through behind-the-scenes events including meeting artists in the collection, scavenger hunts, print giveaways and tours with curators.
YouTube Video Capture for The Black List Project
Visitors could record a video in response to how race had impacted their lives and accomplishments.
The interactive used off the shelf hardware in the form of Apple Macbooks and YouTube's built-in video capture feature. Visitor videos were uploaded directly to a YouTube channel setup specifically for the exhibition. During the show’s four month run, visitors recorded 482 videos that were viewed 43,386 times exhibition's reach to a larger audience.
I'm a keynote speaker who is invited to venues worldwide.
AAM 2017 | May 8, 2017 | St. Louis, Missouri
Session: Better Flow for a Better Experience
MCN 2016 | November 4, 2016 | New Orleans, Louisiana
Session: The View from the Top: An Executive Roundtable on Technology, Digital Transformation, Organizational Change and the Future of Museums
MCG Museums+Tech 2016 | October 19, 2016 | London, England
Closing Keynote: How to Change the Tires on a Moving Truck exploring the challenges of moving from Brooklyn to the Barnes, deploying short-term solutions while working towards institutional change, and the shift from ‘digital’ to Chief Experience Officer.
CanUX | November 7-8, 2015 | Ottawa, Canada
CanUX is an event created for the Canadian design and technology community interested in learning and sharing their expertise about experience design, and how the technology profession contributes to making a better world for everyone.
Arts Marketing 2015 | October 26-28, 2015 | Madrid, Spain
The fifth edition of the annual conference of arts marketing in Spain, hosted by ASIMÉTRICA, explored the theme of "Change of Mentality."
MuseumNext | September 25-26, 2015 | Indianapolis, Indiana and April 19-21, 2015 | Geneva, Switzerland
MuseumNext focuses on the future of museums with conferences that showcase best practice today to shine light on the museum of tomorrow.
Webstock | February 16-20, 2015 | Wellington, New Zealand
Held annually in Wellington, New Zealand, Webstock is a web technology conference featuring a range of high-profile speakers covering a variety of web-related topics such as accessibility, usability, ethnographic design and development practices.
Design Matters | November 11, 2014 | Washington, D.C.
Hosted by the Association of Architecture Organizations, the conference theme of "Crafting the Story" took a close look at how architectural organizations could construct more effective program narratives.
Let's Get Real | September 18, 2014 | Brighton, United Kingdom
Let's Get Real is hosted by Culture24, an independent organization in the UK which supports the cultural sector in reaching and connecting with audiences.
I'm one of Crain's 40 Under 40 and my work on digital strategy has been featured in the New York Times.
"Barnes Foundation Gets a New CEO—That's Chief Experience Officer" CBS Philly. May 20, 2016.
"Shelley Bernstein Moves to the Barnes Foundation." Art F City. May 10, 2016.
BKM Tech Blog. 2006-2016
"Who's in Charge at the Brooklyn Museum? It Could Be You." New York Times. April 29, 2016.
"The Brooklyn Museum's App Acts Like AI, but There Are Humans Behind It." The Verge. April 22, 2016.
“The Brave New Museum Sputters into Life.” Wall Street Journal, September 7, 2015
“Culture Techies Look to Strike a Delicate Balance.” Crain’s New York Business, September 18, 2014
“Museums See Different Virtues in Virtual Worlds.” New York Times, August 7, 2014
“Brooklyn Museum Tests a Democratic Model.” Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2013
"Using New Tools, Mapping Old Brooklyn." New York Times, July 7, 2011
“The Spirit of Sharing.” New York Times, March 17, 2011
“Brooklyn Museum Experiments with First Impressions.” New York Times, February 11, 2011
“40 Under 40.” Crain's New York Business, March 2010
“Latest Art Tech-Nique: Museum Lets Phones Guide You.” New York Post, September 2, 2009
“Rodin-ternet! Brooklyn Museum's Digital Docent Peddles Art to Peoria.” New York Observer, January 27, 2009