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Milwaukee Art Museum Digital Signage

Page history last edited by Erin Narloch 11 years, 5 months ago

Project Title: Digital Signage 

Museum/ Institution: Milwaukee Art Museum

Media Category: Electronic Signage/Wayfinding

Program Created:  "Live" September 14, 2006 

Program URL (if available):   http://www.visix.com/case_study_milwaukeeartmuseum.html


Project Image(s) and/or Video


Video Link from Vimeo: http://www.vimeo.com/140257

Media Source(s)/Credit(s):


Both video and image provided by Justin Heideman on behalf of the Walker Art Center.


Program Description: (150-250 words)

The Milwaukee Art Museum contracted with Visix Digital Signage Software Company to come up with digital signage for the entrance area of the Museum’s Calatrava expansion. The Museum was interested in presenting signage that didn’t take up a large footprint, could change frequently, and wouldn’t detract from the beautiful architecture the expansion is known for.


The solution was Axis TV Digital Signage Software feeding two Sharp 27’’ LCD screens. The format for the screens includes one large frame for marketing messages about current and upcoming exhibitions, events, and programs. Two smaller frames display visitor tips and specific schedules.


One of the benefits of using this software system is that it is easy for Museum staff to regularly upkeep. The in-house Design and Publications department creates the graphics in Quark or Photoshop and then they are easily exported into the Axis TV Digital Signage Software.  Museum staff believe the monitors are a success because they are seeing an increase of visitors watching them and then coming to Visitor Services desk to inquire about the Museum’s offerings.


Firsthand or secondary review/critique: (150-250 words) 

Second-Hand/First-Hand Review


I’ve been to the Milwaukee Art Museum many times since they installed their Axis TV system, however I can’t remember seeing them so, I’ll rely on secondary sources for my review.


This digital signage project doesn’t seem earth shattering or as Walker Art Center blogger, Justin Heideman puts it, “it doesn’t seem particularly groundbreaking, but it is likely quite easy to update.” I’d suspect that is exactly what then director David Gordon was looking for, something out of the way (not distracting from the culture temple feel of the Calatrava expansion) and easy to update.


They seem like they do their duty, however I’d be concerned about the following as potential problems.


  • How is your sign accessible? For individuals who are low-vision and blind, older Americans, wheel chair bound (the angle and height of the sign seems like it would be extremely uncomfortable to read from a seated position, is there a screen reader that visitors could plug into for a spoken option)
  • Glare? In an atrium with lots of light, is the screen readable at different times of day?
  • Size – is 27’’ big enough? Or should the monitors be larger? Or should they be projections?
  • More monitors? With only two monitors, does it seem like they should be used in other parts of the Museum? Perhaps in less likely, more trafficked locations – like bathrooms?


Technologies incorporated:

 Photoshop/Quark Graphics and Visix Axis TV Software 


Internally or externally produced: Produced by Visix: Digital Signage Software; maintained by in-house staff. 


Entry Contributor and Date: Erin Narloch, 3/4/11


Related projects:  none 

Comments (2)

lstepp1@... said

at 8:46 pm on Mar 7, 2011

It seems like the way the monitor is tucked away in an alcove might mitigate glare. I like the way that the alcove is designated for information, with the print material accompanying the digital signage., as an option and a unified idea.

Scott Sayre said

at 8:33 pm on Mar 23, 2011

It's an assessment in itself that you have visited the museum many times and not seen these monitors. This is always the art museums balancing act between form and function.

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