Open Exhibits - Blog



Selling Cars vs. Connecting Visitors with Artifacts: Examples from the Commercial World

The two images in this article reminded me a great deal of the resources that have been developed and deployed as part of the Open Exhibits project. The article highlights use of a Multi-Touch table and Kinect-driven interface sponsored by Microsoft for would-be consumers to learn more about Mazda's new line of cars at a recent event in France.

Perhaps the messages to us, as a community, are two-fold: 

1) That Open Exhibits is providing cutting edge tools and resources that are both buzz-worthy and news-worthy - so let's keep spreading the word about what we are doing; and,

2) If the commercial world is adopting this technology to help sell products, its not too far-fetched for those within the museum community to be looking to capitalize on the technology to help visitors engage with artifacts and information - and learn.



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by Jennifer Borland View all posts by Jennifer Borland on Apr 12, 2012

New Components & Update to the SDK

 The Mask Image Viewer, Panoramic Viewer, and Media Viewer components are now available. These components are easily customized by simply editing the CML (Creative Markup Language) files. Of course, they can also be modified and expanded using ActionScript and Open Exhibits SDK. 

The Open Exhibits Software Development Kit (SDK) has been updated to Version 2.0.1. You will need the latest version to work with the new modules.

Here are videos of the modules in action.

Mask Image Viewer

Panoramic Viewer

Media Viewer

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by Jim Spadaccini View all posts by Jim Spadaccini on Apr 11, 2012

Welcome to Open Exhibits 2.0

The new site and software development kit (SDK) are here. Both are brand new and built from the ground up.

Open Exhibits Splash Screen

Open Exhibits 2.0
The new SDK took more than a year to develop and it has a number of new and exciting features. Open Exhibits 2.0 has greatly improved gesture analysis and processing at its core. It also has support for the Gesture Markup Language, an XML-schema that allows developers to define gestures and interactions. (You can learn more in the Gesture Library section of the site, or visit

The Open Exhibits SDK also supports a new markup language called CreativeML, which is an open standard for defining object creation, management, and interaction within a multiuser / mulititouch environment. The new software components and exhibits/templates you'll find on the site are built using CML. Many more of these will be rolled out over the next few weeks--with new additions in just the next few days. (You can learn more about Creative Markup Language at:

The Open Exhibits SDK is based on the commercial GestureWorks 3 software package. The OE SDK and all other software on the site is free for museums, nonprofits, US government agencies, schools and students.  Commercial users are asked to use the GestureWorks 3 SDK and all of the OE software components, exhibits and templates can be used commercially.

The New Site
The new site was initially designed back in November and has been in production ever since. Built with WordPress and BuddyPress it has some great new features.

The big new addition is the  feature: a place to request items that you'd like to see developed or to claim items that community members have already posted. These can be software development, blog posts, research, and other items. We place cash bounties on some Wanted items (Amazon Gift Certificates too). The Tech Open Source is partnering with us on this experimental feature.

The discussion groups on the new site are much improved. We now have a general Open Exhibits Members forum and separate OE Software Support forum. We also have new profile pages with the ability to send messages and add friends.

We've simplified the software pages, making it much easier to find modules. We've also created a separate area on the site for Research and Papers--which we will be expanding in the weeks to come.

All of your feedback, suggestions and encouragement over the first year and half of the project made this "reboot" possible. Thank you. I also want to thank our Partners and Advisors for their continued help and support. Finally, I'd like to acknowledge the amazing team at Ideum who designed and developed the software and the site.

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by Jim Spadaccini View all posts by Jim Spadaccini on Mar 28, 2012

Open Exhibits 2.0: New SDK & Website Coming March 28th

In just 28 days a new version of the Open Exhibits software and a brand-new website will launch.

When we first built the site and released the 1.0 version of the SDK back in November 2009 we didn’t anticipate that we would be rebuilding it all a year and half later.  However, along the way we heard from you: our community members, our partners and advisors and we decided to rebuild based on the great feedback we received.  This new course provides the best opportunity for Open Exhibits to become a long lasting and self-sufficient community of practice.

Here’s a summary of some of what you can expect to see on March 28th.

The Open Exhibits 2.0 SDK is completely rebuilt from the ground up and it has been extended in a number of ways; including the development of CML (our own Creative Markup Language). This introduction of this new XML markup language is an “OCGM” centered approach to authoring; as CML defines the objects and their behaviors within an application. (You can learn more about OCGM here.)

Open Exhibits 2.0 support for GestureML, CreativeML, and CSS will give non-programmers the ability to more easily adapt applications for their own needs. They can change gesture, object and application parameters, and styles—all outside of ActionScript.  This is a huge development as it will hopefully make Open Exhibits much more accessible. In addition, the structural changes represent a new approach to authoring, one that we feel is much better suited for multitouch (and other new HCI tech) development.

Along with Open Exhibits 2.0 SDK, a new Collection Viewer with a separate application (GUI) for populating the viewer with content will be released. There’s more about the Collection Viewer in a previous post.

We will release more exhibit templates this year with content GUIs.  Again, the idea here is that these drag-and-drop content management applications will help make it easier for nonprogrammers to get started with Open Exhibits.

Open Exhibits 2.0 will have a brand new website. Along with its new look, the Website will have a number of new features. We are using WordPress and BuddyPress and we’re really happy with how these tools are working. The profile feature is greatly improved, as is blog authoring (of course).  Also, the site will have the ability for members to start their own discussion groups; allowing our forums to act a place for creative discussion, not just a space for support requests.

The most exciting new feature is the Wanted Boards. Here community members can post and “claim” small development projects. If you have an idea for a software module or need help with design or research, the Wanted Boards might be able to help.  Wanted Board items will include software development, screen-casts, and requests for blog posts on specific topics, research, and even hardware development for Arduino projects.

The Wanted Boards include an admin function that allows us to add a cash bounty or Amazon gift certificate to items on the board. The Tech Open Source has partnered with us to help promote promising items with additional cash bounties.

Starting the site over again has allowed us to incorporate all of the feedback we received from various surveys, the design summit, and other sources over the last year. We think the new site will be one that encourages greater participation from our 2,300+ members.

As many of you know, there have been some delays in getting the new site and new software together. This new development has also pushed back a few other items including Heist and other Collection Viewer features until later this year. We appreciate your patience. We are confident that this important foundational work will serve the Open Exhibits community well.

Thanks for all your feedback and support.  We are very excited about the release and we hope you are too.

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by Jim Spadaccini View all posts by Jim Spadaccini on Mar 1, 2012

Collection Viewer 2.0 - Multiscreen Capable With Editing GUI!

As part of the new Open Exhibits release next month, we are releasing a new and improved version of the Collection Viewer. The 2.0 version has the ability to display images or related video on second display, improved metadata support, better performance, and graphical user interface (GUI) for adding content.

Check out this video which shows the multiscreen Collection Viewer 2.0 and GUI in action.

We still have a long list of additions to add to the Collection Viewer during the course of 2012. If you want see some of the features we are looking to add, see the blog post: Building a Better Collection Viewer (Part 2).

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by Jim Spadaccini View all posts by Jim Spadaccini on Feb 17, 2012
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