A new way to approach contextual real-time content of museum installations

“Imagine, you not only see the art piece and a text written some years ago when being at the museum, but can read what people are thinking and saying about it right now! It can open up totally new perspectives into the current discussions related to the art piece – and you can leave your comment as well!”

TweetCaption is a small screen integrated into the museum signage system, which displays live Twitter messages filtered according to the exhibit: showing ongoing global discussions about the art piece, the artist, or contextual relevant information.

TweetCaption allows visitors to draw parallels between the exhibition pieces and underlying discussions of the context the piece is dealing with. While traditional captions provide curated and authoritative explanation and interpretation for museum pieces, TweetCaption opens up the possibility to set exhibits in an on-going context of public understanding, connotations and current developments in filtering and displaying relevant Tweets from the Social Media tool Twitter.com.

Consisting of an iPod Touch running custom made software, TweetCaption can easily be integrated into existing signage infrastructures. TweetCaption allows visitors a new form of interaction and participation in the museum with the exhibits they are looking at: they can scroll through thematically related Tweets and messages left by earlier visitors, as well as leave a message themselves.

Also for museum professionals TweetCaption can provide an interesting perspective: as visitors sending their contribution to TweetCaption use a specific hashtag/code, museum authorities can have a focused look at their visitor’s reactions. Using a hashtag specific to the museum as well as the objects, in sending a message user simultaneously inform their Twitter friends about the museum visit and their opinion.


Why integrate Twitter/ Social Media into exhibitions?

New Forms of Interaction

  • Reading and following most recent comments of the online community
  • Scrolling through the history of on-going discussions
  • Leaving messages and joining the discussion online and offline

Social Meaning

  • Integration of relevant public, worldwide discussion into exhibition
  • Social media presence in the exhibition
  • Twitter messages about the exhibition/ specific exhibits raise public awareness among the peer group of visitors

Follow the Visitors

  • Follow what visitors say about specific exhibits
  • Follow what one person thinks and writes about different exhibits
  • Analyze statistics and learn which exhibits are the most discussed ones

Easy Integration

  • Suggested prototype size:
    140 x 180 mm, light wood base, Mountable on any common surface
  • Description text exchangeable
  • iPod Touch with custom software can also be integrated into existing signage infrastructure


Example: Natural History of the Enigma by Eduardo Kac

The art piece “Natural History of the Enigma” by Eduardo Kac serves as example to demonstrate the potentials of TweetCaption. Being a highly controversial piece relating to current debates about the future of genetical engineering, it triggers a lot of contextual Twitter messages as well as reactions by visitors.

Natural History of the Enigma at the Science Gallery Dublin




Settings: Filtered Keywords

  • transgenic
  • genetic engineering
  • Edurado Kac

Screenshots of displayed Twitter Messages (click to enlarge)