ARTLENS Gallery Project Manager Q & A

As the Project Manager for the relaunch of Gallery One as ARTLENS Gallery, Emily Hirsch gained valuable first-hand experience with how the Cleveland Museum of Art tackles its innovative digital projects. Learn more about the ARTLENS Gallery project from Emily before your visit, and be sure to join us on September 10th for the ARTLENS Gallery celebration! 

Q: What is your background and how did it lead to your job at CMA? 

A: I grew up in Cleveland, so visiting the museum has always been huge part of my life. After graduating from Yale University with a degree in history, I was interested in working in the humanities and preferably at a museum. I was lucky enough to be looking for jobs at the same time that my boss, Jane Alexander (Chief Information Officer), was looking for a Project Manager for the re-launch of Gallery One as ARTLENS Gallery.

Q: What is ARTLENS Gallery? 

A: ARTLENS Gallery is a suite of experiences designed to give visitors the toolset to start their relationship with the museum, inspiring them to look closer and dive deeper into our world-renowned collection. ARTLENS Gallery has 4 components: ArtLens Studio, which is for visitors of all ages to create and look closer at art, ArtLens Exhibition, the central space that intertwines masterworks of art with immersive digital interactives, ArtLens Wall, where all objects on view in the museum are displayed on the largest multitouch, microtile wall in North America, and the ArtLens App, which allows visitors to save all the artworks they learn about and seamlessly map their way throughout the museum (among many other functionalities!). My role was primarily managing the installation of the new ArtLens Exhibition, the relaunch of the ArtLens App, and the redesign of the Beacon wall at the entrance of ARTLENS Gallery. 

Q: What were your duties as Project Manager? 

A: The Project Manager position is a truly cross-collaborative museum job. Although I am in the Information Management Technology Services (IMTS) department, I also worked with almost every department at the museum for the launch of ArtLens Exhibition. I was responsible with knowing everything that was going on with the project at all times: from understanding exactly how all the interactives worked and connected with the art during the earlier stages of development before Gallery One was closed, through scheduling and keeping the renovation project on track, to making sure everything was ready and working in time for the official launch in June 2017. Beyond CMA, I also coordinated with the various vendors who were working on the project: Potion Design for the Exhibition, Local Projects for the App, and Dome Collective for the Beacon. 

Q: What surprised you about the process of launching ArtLens Exhibition? 

A:  I was most surprised by the cross-collaborative nature of the launch: from IMTS handling all the backend technology, Interpretation writing the content for the 900+ objects that appear in the games, and Design completely renovating the space to elegantly combine art and technology, along with the countless other people and departments involved. I learned that digital projects at museums need representatives from across the museum to be excited about a project in order for it to be successful. 

Q: What is your favorite interactive game in ArtLens Exhibition? 

A: My favorite game is definitely Gaze Tracker. At this interactive, you look at an artwork for 15 seconds and the eye-tracking technology follows your gaze. After looking at the artwork, you can see a map of your gaze, where you looked first, where you looked the longest, and compare your gaze to other visitors. It is not a gimmick or technology for technology’s sake: this interactive makes you really look at an artwork and understand how an artist’s compositional choices effect where you look, consciously or subconsciously. 

Q: What is your advice for someone visiting ARTLENS Gallery for the first time? 

A: Don’t be afraid of the technology! All the digital experiences are designed to help you look closer and learn more about art, and the focus is truly on the artwork. The goal of ARTLENS Gallery is to sharpen your art historical toolset and allow you to approach the museum’s collection with greater confidence and understanding. 

Apply for the ARTLENS Gallery Fellowship position today!: https://recruiting.ultipro.com/CLE1004CMA/JobBoard/85cb4420-40e1-440b-9c73-ab703c4fa94d/OpportunityDetail?opportunityId=675bbdcb-4f52-4b31-a0b1-e910035090b1

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