into the new Getty Centre in 1997.The museum collects art in seven distinct areas:
Greek and Roman antiquities, European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture, dec-
orative arts, and European and American photographs.The museum's goal is to make the
collection meaningful and attractive to a broad audience by presenting and interpreting
the collection through educational programs, special exhibitions, publications, conserva-
tion, and research.
In keeping with its modern image, the J. Paul Getty Museum aims at presentation, that
allow visitors to see three different sets of materials: collections which are not currently
on display, background information on current exhibits and interviews with artists. In
addition to this, the information technology allows users to create their own personalised
tour of the gallery.
A software development company specialising in network solutions, ThunderWave
, assisted the museum in its mission, creating the ArtAccess System of 28 interactive
kiosks.The core HCI component for each of the kiosks is an Entuitive touchmonitors
produced by Elo TouchSystems Inc.
The ArtAccess System involves TWIST (ThunderWave Interactive Streaming
Technology), a Windows NT ODBC-compliant system that allows content to be easily
added to or removed from the system. `A fiber-optic cable provides each kiosk with its
own hotline to the server, so there's no bandwidth sharing among the kiosks,' explains
Yechiam Halevy, president of ThunderWave.There are currently five ArtAccess rooms
and 22 touch-based workstations which act as both educational resource and a reference
point to visitors. Each workstation is focused on the same interface, so visitors can access
the same information from each room. Six additional kiosks are used for editing, author-
ing and demonstrations.
`Each kiosk puts images, videos, voice and text about 5,000 objects and 1,200 artists
literally at visitors` fingertips,' says Ken Hamma, assistant director for collections informa-
tion at the museum and project director for the museum's Website. `ArtAccess lets users
search the collection by artist's name, subject, era, gender and nationality.With one tap on
the touchscreen, a visitor can watch a video about how the ancient Greeks created a vase
and zoom in to see a grain of the clay, or print a customised map that shows the location
of all the vases in the museum.'
According to Hamma, the already exhaustive content will grow further to reflect new
acquisitions, rotating exhibitions and, in a few years, the reopening the Getty Villa which
will house the collection of Greek and Roman antiquities currently only partially on
display in the Museum at the Getty Centre.
Since the museum opened, about 16 per cent of all visitors have used the system;
between 700 and 1,000 people each day. `We are certainly pleased with the performance
of Elo's touchscreens,' says Hamma,They are durable and function well under such rigor-
ous demands.'The key benefits for this collection are seen in the intuitive user interface,
increased design opportunities, robust system for both employee and visitor use, simplifi-
cation of complex technology, reliable and consistent service, accurate activation by fin-
ger, soft stylus or gloved hand.
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