Moses, Mods & Mr Fish is the Jewish Museum London’s latest exhibition that explores the Jewish influence on men’s fashion from the Moss Bros suits of Covent Garden to the Swinging ‘60s styles of Carnaby Street . Recognising the power of using digital tools to enhance the experience of museum exhibitions, The Jewish Museum London commissioned Calvium and content producer Sarah Peters to create the museum’s first ever mobile app.
As well as providing extra content to some of the articles behind the exhibition glass, such as the ability to flick through books that would otherwise be confined to one page, the app also takes users out onto the streets of London with an immersive audio tour. Using seamless audio production and guided by BBC Radio London’s Robert Elms, the stories spill from the museum and take you to the very streets where the Jewish influence on men’s fashion was carved.
As part of the ongoing and wider strategy of the Jewish Museum, Curator of Social History and Collections Manager Elizabeth Selby and her colleagues, have been trying to incorporate more digital projects within their exhibitions. After receiving some funding, they decided that an app would be a great match to the upcoming menswear exhibit. Calvium was recommended to the Jewish Museum by content producer Sarah Peters, who had previously worked on the National Trust’s Soho Stories app. Although Elizabeth spoke to a few other agencies they chose to work with Calvium.
We just felt really happy about the way that Calvium worked. Meeting them and seeing them demonstrate their knowledge around apps and digital media was really impressive.
However, as the Jewish Museum had not developed an app before, the project itself presented a new set of challenges and questions – how long do we need? How much will it cost? Who can we work with to create it?
How Calvium Helped
Our experience working with heritage organisations large and small meant we could guide the Jewish Museum through the app development journey. We value co-creation and believe working collaboratively is the only way to make a successful app.
Although we’ve done lots of digital projects here at the Jewish Museum, this was our first app and Calvium really helped us chart that new territory
Indoor heritage sites such as The Jewish Museum can reap the rewards of using mobile apps in their exhibitions without the need for iBeacons or any other kind of indoor location technology. Whilst beacons have their benefits, they come with added expense and infrastructure requirements that smaller and medium sized heritage organisations can rarely accommodate. We therefore worked with The Jewish Museum to think about other, simpler yet clever ways of translating content from their indoor exhibition into an app.
What resulted was a simple colour coded structure where the colours used in the app, matched the colours of the exhibition boards. For example; As you enter the pink section of the exhibition, you can refer to the pink section of the app. It sounds simple, but good app experiences needn’t be complicated or use complicated technology. In fact, low tech options can often yield the greatest results for heritage sites.
The app build also had to adhere to a strict timescale. The app had to be live to coincide with the exhibition launch, therefore it was imperative that the project was managed well and deadlines were kept.
“Calvium’s communication was at all times fantastic. They provided us with a solid work schedule and put together a list of deadlines so we could work efficiently. As far as I’m concerned it was all very organised and very impressive.” Elizabeth Selby, Curator of Social History and Collections Manager
The app was ready, live on the app store and announced at The Jewish Museum’s launch party in April 2016. The initial response has been extremely positive with members of the Museum’s staff, friends and family enjoying the added layer of experience.
We're really pleased with the app! We’re all looking forward to seeing how it works in the exhibition and see how it works with the rest of the content in the street walk. I’m confident that it will add another layer of interpretation for our visitors. I would definitely work with Calvium again, I was impressed with how quickly everything got done and how organised the process was. I would certainly recommend them to other museums and heritage sites looking to incorporate apps into their exhibitions
Members of the Calvium team enjoyed attending the launch party of the exhibition and app – particularly the dressing up box that worked alongside the selfie sharing function!
Photo Credit: Jewish Museum London