Engaging with Campus Collections – digital interpretation and curation at UMMA & the Stearns Collection

Isabelle Gillet, PhD candidate in the History of Art

Muting the Museum’s Omniscient Narrator

Why do we trust museum labels even when they sound like they were written by a disengaged but knowledgeable AI? Instead, can we rely on an “I” to guide our eye through the galleries? This talk will reflect on an eighteen-month fellowship at the University of Michigan Museum of Art and focus on its main accomplishment: Insight. Insight is an online collection of essays, curated to share insightful, individual, and informative responses to works from the museum’s collection. This research outreach project elevates museum interpretation with personal narratives and experiences.

Chuyi Zhu, PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology

Museums in the Pandemic: Virtual Exhibits, Experience Design, and Innovative Collaborations

In the presentation, I will talk about two virtual exhibitions I worked on as an intern of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments at the University of Michigan. The first virtual exhibition, which I planned, designed, and produced in 2021, focuses exclusively on the UM Javanese Gamelan. The second exhibition, which I helped curate in 2022, focuses more generally on representing the entire Stearns Collection. In the talk, I will also highlight our collaborations with CultureVerse, a non-profit organization based in Ann Arbor, and our use of Saganworks, a digital tool and cyberspace that creates virtual reality rooms for multidimensional knowledge and visual storytelling.