What are the big trends in interactive exhibits for 2012?

Journal entry by Flickr user JoelMontes

Since it’s the end of the year, I’ve been staring at my list of “things I’d like to do in 2012” and trying to turn them into a workable personal professional development plan.  In looking at all the events and places I’ve highlighted, it turns out an emergent theme in 2011 has been looking for/at trends in museums and trying to be more proactive than reactive. Between Museums and the Webthe Horizon Report and the Salzburg Global Seminar, MCN, and the daily drip of inspiration coming in from Twitter, it’s been a heady Fall.

At the same time, I ranted a very little bit about computers in museums. The upshot of this was starting to talk to Seb Chan about putting together some kind of conference presentation on new justifications for computer interactives. I had one of those flow moments, where a bunch of seemingly disparate elements all suddenly snap into alignment and seem like a coherent whole.  Maybe this could be my theme for the coming year! Studying new approaches to interactivity in museums!

Now I’m wondering if I can turn an unwieldy pile of people, places and events into a course of sorts that would push me to learn more about new ways you and your friends are using interactivity in museums.  There’s lots to learn!

Here’s my admittedly incomplete list of things that I want to know more about and incorporate into my practice. Can you add other trends or examples to the list?

What else have I left out?


    1. Thanks, Tricia! That’s a great example of computing that doesn’t look or act like the archetypal kiosk. There’s a whole slew of intelligent object products out there that are worth a look.


  1. Good list, and shows me I have to polish some of my skills to stay relevant in 2012 myself;-) I especially hope we get a bit more of your point 2: DIY ethos. (It’s why we specifically call our new company a “start-up”, DIY and action instead of meetings.)

    Anyway, what I see happening, and hope to continue see happening, is the use of life-size interactives in gallery. The only way to compete with the tech in the average living room nowadays is to build stuff to big to fit in a normal house. Enormous, overwhelming joysticks, trackballs, multitouch walls, 20 by 4 metres responsive projections… Bigger, better, I say size does matter in 2012!


  2. Excellent list.
    One I might add – haptic touch screen technology. I think there’s some interesting potential applications for allowing visitors to “virtually” handle fragile artifacts. Not sure if 2012 is the year it will take off, but it seems to be on the horizon.


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