Thursday, August 10, 2006

Podcasting Lewis & Clark- #5

In our travels this summer, we went to visit our daughter in Washington, DC. In the middle of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History is a fabulous exhibit running through September 11th on the Bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark expedition. The exhibit fascinated us and when we went the first day, we found that there was an audio tour. When we asked about getting the audio tour, we were informed that it is available to download as a podcast and play on your own iPod. Unfortunately, I did not bring my iPod on our trip, but luckily, our daughter had her first generation, old one available as a spare. She uses her shuffle when she works out and here old one when she flies long distances.

I have used my iPod on walks with the dog and working in my library on days when the kids are not in attendance, but NEVER experienced a podcast. Were we in for a surprise! We were to her apartments in the evening, went on the iTunes site and she walked us through the wonders of podcasts. I know we will be learning about this in the group presentations, but this was amazing! She download things all the time, so she was our native guide in this new, hi-tech unexplored territory (The comparison to Lewis & Clark here is intentional!)

The number and variety of podcasts out there amazed us. However, our purpose was to download the free audio tour. The download was completed, the iPod synched and when we returned to the museum, all you had to do was dial up the corresponding number on the exhibits to experience the wonders of this fabulous exhibit. The audio experience added much to my enjoyment of the artifacts and we spent a leisurely time going through. The opportunities this presents not only for museums but for other institutions also (read libraries) was intriguing to me. I found myself wondering how I could incorporate this technology into my library and curriculum. Hopefully, when we get to our group projects on Saturday, I will get lots of ideas.

So the next time you plan a museum visit, be sure to check out their podcasts before you go!


Blogger michele said...

Betty, that is so neat! I love to do the audio tours--it adds an extra dimension to the exhibit by pointing out things that you might have missed and gives a lot of background information. The way the Smithsonian has it set up is interesting in that you would have to download the podcast beforehand (or in your case, go to the museum a second time), if you want to partake of the audio tour. Did you see others at the museum who were doing the audio tours?

6:29 AM  
Blogger Laura L. said...

I love your analogy with the Lewis and Clark expedition.
I'm a big fan of podcasts, so I'm glad to hear you had a good first experience.
The potential in libraries is huge. I'm thinking that special collections and archives that have exhibits could develop podcasts to accompany the exhibit -similar to the way that museums are doing this now. Maybe some are already doing this - I'll have to look around. Thanks for a fun post, Betty!

8:50 AM  
Blogger Juliette73 said...

Hmmmm...It sounds like you were in the wrong group! Just kidding! I'm glad you enjoyed your podcast experience. We found that there are tons of opportunities to use this in the library! (The podcast group)

12:23 PM  
Blogger Bibliomuse said...

How excellent! I never even thought about museums and podcasts, but now I am so curious to know which museums have them and anxious to give them a try!

9:48 PM  

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