Museum of Fine Art

Boston MFA

Boston, MA | 2009

The MFA dynamic signage system consists of three distinct forms. All three signs draw on the same daily XML feed, populated by Sitebots. Each screen displays an overlapping but specific set of content, tailored to its form and location in the museum. The signs primarily serve to promote current and upcoming events and exhibitions at the MFA. It also welcomes visitors to the museum, advertises for memberships, and serves as a billboard for general announcements.

The installation located at the Sharf Information Center is comprised of seven LCD screens run by networked computers. This sign uses letterforms based on the MFA logo along with vivid colors and images to show all exhibitions and events available at the museum on the current day. At less frequent intervals, it shows highlights from the museum collection as well as a welcome screen with the MFA logo. The sign is designed to provide an exciting overview of “Today at the MFA” and spark visitors’ interest in the museum’s offerings. While it does not replace the printed brochure or calendar, it provides enough detailed information for a visitor to find and participate in selected exhibitions and events.

The Huntington reception desk sign is similar in form to the Sharf sign, with some additional information and restrictions. The sign is five screens wide and displays the list of current exhibitions, showing only those above a certain priority. Every forty five seconds, an exhibition is highlighted in the foreground, with a probability based on its priority level. Flanking this list—and shown at all times—are the current time, the day’s operation hours, general admission prices, ticketed exhibition prices, and the name of the current ticketed exhibition. Displayed at the bottom of each screen is a staff label, whose contents can be set with the keyboard connected to the sign, which indicates the current function of the associated desk position.

A single portrait screen is positioned at both the Fenway and Huntington entrances of the museum. These screens run identical software and serve to welcome visitors to the museum and pique their interest about current exhibitions. The pylons alternates between a welcome screen, which also shows the museum’s hours of operation for the day, and a selected exhibition. Only exhibitions of a high priority level are shown on these signs.