When I stayed in Barcelona a few years ago, I was surprised to see how much more sophisticated (and theatrical) even smaller museums were than their American counterparts — in the use of video, reconstructed scenes, the stylish displays of artifacts, even just their layouts. Hurrah, American museums are slowly changing, says the Mercury News .
But it mostly seems to be about keeping up with the podcasting/webcasting young:
Some of the first museums to change how they present exhibits have been in the Bay Area, where gadgets and gadget-heads have lived happily for many years. That kind of environment is proving to be a grand field for the successful introduction of the tech-enabled, extra-dimensional museum experience. Years ago, the Exploratorium in San Francisco and the Tech Museum in San Jose were built on that principle.
The San Jose Museum of Art has begun to win awards for its podcasts and is working with a group that includes the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., to track the effect on visitor traffic.