Victoria and Albert Museum offer podcast

V-And-AThe Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK, have begun to produce one of the first (if not the first?) museum podcasts as part of their “Every Object Tells a Story” project.

In this first edition, you can hear curators, conservators and researchers share their stories about art in the Paintings Gallery and see images of the paintings at the same time on your iPod, mp3 player or desktop computer.

It is refreshing to see more heritage organisations using podcasting to help reach out to a wider audience, and use the technologies available in an innovative way. Museums and galleries often offer audio tours, so many of them already have a wealth of audio content to podcast.

But what use is an audio tour if you can’t see the objects or paintings? The V&A have used the features normally used for embedding album art in mp3s in a novel way – to display images of the objects being talked about. If you use iTunes, or a colour iPod, you can see what is being discussed (albeit rather small, but this is a limitation of the technology).

The first set of V&A podcasts consist of six episodes, each just over a minute long. The sound quality is not very good, presumably to keep download times short, and minimise bandwidth expenses (they’re about 300Kb each!), but still very listenable.

It will be very interesting to see how they take this idea forward. They could presumably make them longer, and use chapter markers with extra images to make a more immersive listen.
Well done, V&A!

Archaeologists and museums are now podcasting – here’s to more “virtual heritage”…

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2 Responses to Victoria and Albert Museum offer podcast

  1. Mike 3 February, 2006 at 11:08 am #

    Hi. You might be interested in a podcast interview I did with Rachel Coldicutt from the V&A about the EveryObject website. There’s a link to it here



  2. Tom 3 February, 2006 at 11:58 am #

    Thanks Mike!