Museum of Contemporary Art plans virtual exhibitions

Relaunch of MCA building in March 2012 will coincide with new, video rich website

The NSW Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) plans a major revamp of its Web presence.

The MCA's new website, due to come online in March 2012, will offer access to virtual exhibitions for up to a year, giving the public the chance to browse its collection remotely.

MCA chief operating officer, Euan Upston, said that the MCA's current website is now 10 years old. Although the current site is still functional, Upston said, it is time for a refresh as the museum looks to make better use of multimedia content such as images and videos.

The new website, which is still in the design phase, is being developed in conjunction with Telstra Business.

Upston said the MCA is also looking at a version for mobile devices, with a collection application for both the iOS and Android operating systems to be developed.

"Both the computer and smartphone platforms will be content-rich because we're launching a new MCA brand as well. There will be heavy use of video and we also have plans to digitise the gallery's collection and put it online," he said.

Putting more content online also meant the MCA could deliver what Upston called "content-rich education material".

There are also plans to ramp up Artist Voice, a video recording service where MCA staff interview artists about their work.

"Artist Voice is neat because all of our artists are alive and they enjoy the chance to explain their work to the general public and school children," Upston said.

The museum plans to make better use of social media, including Twitter and Facebook, to engage the public.

Upston said the MCA has forecast for its video and images collection to grow by up to 30 terabytes per year.

As part of its partnership with the NSW Department of Education, the MCA recently began working with Polycom for video conferencing.

Upston explained that it went with Polycom because the department was already using the vendor's offerings and because of the quality of the video.

"We now have a single line going out [to the department] so they can distribute educational videos about artists and their work throughout the state."

The MCA is charged with raising 75 per cent of its own funding — the rest is provided by the state government — and it is using the telepresence system to sweeten the deal for corporate customers such as Google Australia, which uses part of the MCA to hold customer events.

For example, the MCA has a purpose-built lecture theatre with telepresence which is available for annual general meetings and similar events.

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