Friday, December 21, 2007

Audio Tours @ Your Museum

I'm interested in audio tours/podcasts at different museums.

We've recently re-introduced (after a 10+ year hiatus) audio tours at the museum I work at. We decided to introduce them based on the feedback we received from our volunteers (and the feedback they've received from visitors). The audio tours are produced using Audacity and the audio tour devices themselves are low-cost MP3 players. We do all the work in-house. We’ve offered them with three exhibitions thus far – for free. The response to the audio tours continue to be encouraging – not to say we haven't had to tweak the product along the way/

Do your museums do audio tours/podcasts? If so, how do you produce them? What type of feedback do you receive from them? How much do you charge for them? Any words of wisdom to share?



Anonymous said...

No, we don't currently do any type of audio tour, although it is something we're considering. We did have an audio component in a recent exhibit (on discmans, of all things!), which didn't work for more than a month after the exhibit started. No one bothered to find out what the problem was, and we ultimately took them down.

Could you share something of the time required to produce them for the mp3 players, costs, and how they were covered (did you manage to find a grant to cover the acquisition of the mp3 players, or just hit up some local stores for donations?, pull money out of the budget?).

Lee said...

Erin, could you elaborate a bit more on your audio tours (and tell me the size of the museum)? Do you do 5 min. podcasts that cover an entire exhibit, or individual tracks about each piece in an exhibit, or something else?

LD/Brownie said...

We began offering audio tours for the first time ever this summer after geting a free trial through OnCell Audio. The visitors need a cell phone to take the tour, but it's proved fairly popular and effective. It was easy to set up, as you record the entire thing over the telephone. I think the best part about it, though, is that there's no equipment to maintain. Once you record it, the work is over until you want to change the tour.

Michael Barton, FCD said...

The first issue (2006) of an online museum journal from the University of Oklahoma is in article about podcasting in museums:

Anonymous said...

Erin this is exactly what I want to do at our museum. I hadn't heard of anyone else producing their own tours in house with audacity before now. We're in the early stages - just writing a brief guide to the museum really and then we're hoping to run a teenage version with some local kids and also then get the tour translated into different community languages.
On the technical side how long was your tour? who did you find was using it? how did you advertise?

hope to hear your comments soon


Dylan said...

I'm making an audio tour for my local historical society museum as an Eagle Scout Project. Instead of using cell phones or handheld mp3 players, I want to make podiums with a big start/stop button. I'm having trouble finding inexpensive mp3 players or other devices to play the audio. What have you guys used?

Anonymous said...

you can post your tours on this site for free

Anonymous said...

My question is: how museums find their suppliers for audioguides?
You receive offers, you have some sites where you can find such information?
Thank you, it would be very helpfull to get this info, for my thesis.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dylan
I realize that this thread is from several years ago, but I am a girl scout and I am interested in doing a similar project for my gold award. I was wondering what you ended up using for you MP3 devices?