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The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia will reopen on March 29, 2012, showcasing an impressive new wing, a new website and smart phone apps. These technological developments will enhance the Museum’s core activities and use New Media technology to improve and enrich visitors’ experience before, during and after their visit to the MCA.

First, the New Media technology brought the several hundred ton Van Gogh Museum into your home. See post, The Van Gogh Museum. Now, The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, which for many, is a continent away, is now delivered to you on your smart phone.

The New Media significance of the MCA’s new website and apps is that The MCA uses the New Media to allow it to draw its membership from anywhere in the world. By attracting a worldwide audience, its publications and museum store items will now be sold worldwide. Most of all, its well-designed, interactive website and apps will contribute to actually increasing museum attendance, worldwide.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

MCA Redevelopment from MCA Australia on Vimeo.

The MCA’s new website has been designed by Interaction Consortium, in collaboration with Zumio and Toben, to reflect the MCA’s new visual identity and new wing. The website will provide a fully integrated e-commerce experience and artfully engage with all visitors to the site. Improvements include easy navigation and extensive online content for research and learning, dynamic pages featuring artist and MCA staff voices, “what’s on” pages featuring the latest news and events, and many stimulating digital excursion options.”

Further, the website will be hosted by the MCA’s online partner Telstra Business using the Telstra Cloud. This enables the website to grow seamlessly in line with changing demand for MCA’s online services.”

Developed with two of the world’s top smart phone app makers, Acoustiguide and Tristan Interactive, the Museum’s new app, “MCA Insight,” provides digital interpretation for the MCA Collection and all temporary exhibitions, including the opening exhibition, “Marking Time.”

In partnership with the WiFi technology provider Aruba Networks, the MCA has developed a location awareness system for MCA Insight which gives users access to information on the artworks around them, wherever they are in building.

The apps also provides an interactive map of the Museum and multiple tours of artworks and exhibitions. And it will be available free in the Android Marketplace and iTunes store via the website

During their visit, guests can collect works from MCA exhibitions to create their own online gallery. This gallery is both a digital representation of their visit and a place for further investigation, with content about artists and works. This project is a key part of a museum-wide interpretation strategy that connects wall labels, MCA Insight, the MCA Collection online and the user’s own gallery, to extend the Museum experience.

Working with Kinesic, the MCA has also developed an augmented reality app called “MCA OnSite.” The app, which runs on Apple iOS, Android, smart phones and tablets, allows users to discover interactive content triggered by an image in a magazine, brochure, book or within the MCA. MCA OnSite can overlay video, alternate imagery or 3D models and animations onto any image, in any context.

MCA Digital Media Manager Keir Winesmith says, “we have created a 3D model of the Museum that you can view from any angle and at any size. It appears as if by magic right above an architectural rendering of the building; it is an amazing way to experience the new wing”.

For the Younger Audience

The MCA uses time-lapse video to show an artist at work, from start to finish, something few people have ever seen. This is a great hook for kids. Here is the video of artist Robert Owen creating Sunrise #3.

Robert Owen Sunrise #3 – Timelapse from MCA Australia on Vimeo.

The MCA, ingeniously, intends to follow this up with live video chats for kids with artists. Thus, the MCA has the beginnings of a continuous art program for kids, which will get them involved and keep them involved. This is a great leap forward over the traditional one-time museum programs for children. A continuous program will nurture young museum goers and young artists.

Thus, the MCA has greatly succeeded in using the New Media tools to develop a world-class website and apps to make its presence known worldwide.


  1. […] blog also has posts on the Van Gogh Museum, the Van Gogh Letters, and the Museum of Modern Art Australia. as outstanding examples of the use of 21st century new media technology, and profiles many other […]

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