This is where our team, which is exploring ideas to connect smartphones to museum tours, has gotten after weeks of museum research.

I’m a ritualistic person. Once I start doing things one way, I prefer to continue doing it that way for the sake of creativity or something. This week, as I did for my last lab report, I began writing my report by noting the number of weeks that have passed since our first day in August: “Lab Report: Week 5 of Reese.”

The problem is, I never noticed until typing it out that five weeks have already passed. It seems like my team and I, a group of two newbies and a veteran, have simultaneously accomplished so much and so little.

My Reese News Lab week started out with news that one of our team members would be absent for at least a week.

Out one team member, my other teammate and I hesitated in figuring out what direction to take this week. On our list of things to do, we had to begin talking to museums. One of the main things our director, John Clark, preaches to us is that we can never talk to enough people about our start-up idea. Our project for the semester is incorporating new technology in museums and other tourist sites that could be substituted for self-guided tours.

It was also crucial that the university’s Institutional Review Board, an ethics organizations that oversees all university research, approve our study. Two weeks ago, we submitted our application to UNC-CH’s IRB so that we could legally compile research for our idea. It wasn’t until Wednesday that we got cleared to move forward with our research. According to rumor around the lab, that’s an extraordinary turnaround for IRB.

As a two-woman team, we finished compiling a list of people to contact, and by Thursday, we were receiving replies of interest and had a meeting scheduled with a representative from a nearby museum.

I suppose the week ended off well. We got news that our teammate would able to return soon. We also now have a prototype for our app that can make museums more interactive, along with a wealth of information gleaned from our first phone conference with a local museum.

One part of the phone interview that really interested me was an idea about Wall-E-like robots that a British museum uses. The robots won a competition, and the museum uses them to broadcast “Museums After Dark,” a way for anyone around the world to tune in to what goes on in museums after they close. It was just an interesting approach they pitched to us for making museums more interactive. It helped me broaden my lens a little more when looking at different features out app could include.

There are eight weeks left to develop our project.  With two newbies and a veteran, I’d say we’re treading the start-up waters pretty smoothly.

Previously on Walking Tours:

Dear tourism professionals: A value proposition

My personal thank you to IRB

How might we make museums more interesting?

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