Nancy Proctor presented at the New Media Seminar on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, from 6 to 7:30 pm, at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City. Her talk was entitled “Going Universal.”



Nancy Proctor
is Deputy Director for Digital Experience and Communications at the Baltimore Museum of Art and Co-chair of Museums and the Web. Previously she headed up Mobile Strategy and Initiatives at the Smithsonian Institution (2010-2014), and New Media Initiatives at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum (2008-2010). With a PhD in American Art History and a background in filmmaking, curation and art criticism, Nancy Proctor published her first online exhibition in 1995. She co-founded TheGalleryChannel.com in 1998 with Titus Bicknell to present virtual tours of innovative exhibitions alongside comprehensive global museum and gallery listings. TheGalleryChannel was later acquired by Antenna Audio, where Dr. Proctor led New Product Development from 2000-2008, introducing the company’s multimedia, sign language, downloadable, podcast and cellphone tours. She also directed Antenna’s sales in France from 2006-2007, and worked with the Travel Channel’s product development team. Dr. Proctor served as program chair for the Museums Computer Network (MCN) conference 2010-2011, and has co-organized the Tate Handheld conference among other gatherings for cultural professionals. She manages MuseumMobile.info, its wiki and podcast series, and is Digital Co-editor of “Curator: The Museum Journal”.

From object labels to audio tours to Cooper Hewitt’s recent “Pen” project, museums have employed a range of media and strategies in order to provide “universal” interpretation of their collections and exhibitions – that is to say, to make content about objects and exhibits available to all visitors. In this talk and roundtable discussion, we explored the mission- and business model-based drivers for “going universal” as well as the benefits and challenges of various approaches. With this historical context and in light of the near ubiquity of personal Internet-connected devices today, we considered what universal access to museum interpretation might look like in the next decade, along with motivations and strategies for providing it with ever more constrained resources and revenues on the part of the museum.