Info-Point for Museums
Info-Point is ideal for small and volunteer-led museums with bags of enthusiasm, but modest time, financial, and technical resources.
- Simple for visitors - it's just web browsing
- Easy to manage - same as uploading to social media
- No Lock-in - you don't have to pay for anything else
- Nothing else required - no broadband, or phone signal, or app needed
- 24/7 operation - can be solar-powered and outdoors
- Unattended access - locatable securely out of sight and out of reach
- Purchase or rent - to suit grant or revenue funding
- Commissioning support package - optional hand-holding for 'peace of mind'
- Advanced features - dedicated school/staff areas, webcams, interactive games
An accessibility nightmare? - Ryhope Steam Pumping Station
The challenge was a Grade II listed Victorian steam pumping station. Providing ambulatory accessibility to some key parts of this complex structure is just not practicable. The building is leased by the water company to a volunteer group, that work hard to maintain and improve it, and to open it part-time so that people can appreciate their industrial heritage.
As part of a major upgrade, the team wanted to improve the disabled visitor experience as much as possible. In addition to opening those parts of the site that they could, they installed an Info-Point ‘Intelligent Network’, plus six webcams, and some low-cost loan tablets.
Ryhope Trust Chairman, Keith Bell: "Using an Info-Point network and six live webcams, we are able to offer those with ambulatory disability a much more participative experience as they can follow their party around and share in the visit.”
“Our site is poorly served by phone signal and broadband, and only manned part-time, so Info-Point was the only solution that works for us. Users will normally use their own device, but if they don't have one, then we have some tablets available for loan when we are open ."
After a press launch and disabled access public open day, Keith wrote:
“Info-Point has been a universal success and has been robust enough to cope with a high number of users. Some had trouble logging on with smartphones, but the instruction cards allowed us to guide visitors and press to complete the login process if their browser was not opened automatically.”
“We have been open for disabled access days today and the tablets you provided have worked a treat, they have an impressive battery life and perform really well. I have been able to train our less that techno-savvy older volunteers how to use them.”
See a video of the opening day at:
Quaker history gets digital tour
Combe Mill is open 24/7 with Info-Point
Combe Mill in Oxfordshire uses two Info-Point units to enhance its interpretation and improve accessibility. One unit covers the two floors of the mill itself, while the other covers the separate tea room and the car park, and can be used even when the part-time and volunteer-run museum is closed. Phones can connect to either Info-Point and will then switch over automatically as the visitor moves about the site. The Mill, which was a workshop for Blenheim Palace, uses QR codes on some exhibits to take users direct to videos of the mill in steam.
Museum Chairman Tony Simmonds commented, “Visitors can see us in steam at any time and enjoy the working machinery, watch videos, and download historic material they might otherwise not see. It enhances our offering and encourages visitors to linger in the tea room.”
The Whithorn Story - interpretation inside and out
Whithorn has an important story to tell about its archaeology and its pivotal role as an early Christian site. The Whithorn Trust is important to the local economy and community, but faced the significant challenge of a rural facility, with limited internet connectivity and a limited pool of volunteers to provide a human-guided experience on demand. Led by the Trust, the community undertook an HLF grant-funded project to develop the museum and cafe, and to build a life-size replica of a local Iron Age roundhouse. As part of this, they wanted to provide modern digital interpretation that could follow the visitor across the site at any time.
The Trust commissioned professional producers Urbancroft Films to make a number of short videos using children to enact key scenes from the Whithorn Story. To deliver this and other content to visitors and school groups they installed an Info-Point ‘master unit’ inside a separate office building, where it is completely secure, and can feed a ‘slave unit’ at the cafe and a solar-powered one outdoors at the roundhouse.
The project has succeeded in its aims, and won the Scottish Heritage Angels Award 2017. Development Manager Julia Muir-Watt said “The Info-Point system enabled us to deliver what we wanted to do, at a difficult site for digital interpretation, and at reasonable cost. It provides a 24/7 digital facility via visitor’s phones that we can be proud of and can keep updated ourselves.”
Info-Point for the Falkland Islands
The islands have a fascinating story to tell, especially after the recent conflict. Their remote location, extreme weather, and the importance of serving cruise ship visitors presents many challenges and requires a robust solution. Info-Point is one of the few products that can reliably meet that challenge at an economic cost.
Info-Point's Marketing Director, Neil Rathbone: "We were frankly a bit surprised to be exporting Info-Point to a location 6,000 miles away, but the application made sense and we provided our commissioning support package for content formating, pre-loading, and testing, so that the unit arrived ready to plug in and use".