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Audioguide of the Year 2011

In Awards, Museums on December 19, 2011 at 8:15 am

Audioguides are like marmite – people tend to either like them or hate them. Some people will always take the option of an audioguide if it’s available while others will do everything they can to ensure they don’t have to use one.

I suppose I’m on the fence a bit – I tend to take them if I know I’ve got enough time to listen to everything in the tour and also am in the mood to read more as well and make my own meaning. Maybe it just depends what mood I’m in. As a writer of audio and multimedia guides it’s important to me to take plenty of audio tours, to hear what’s working and what’s not and to pick up new tips. And fashions seem to change as well, so it’s worthwhile keeping up to date with the latest styles and techniques.

So I decided to award a prize this year to three audio guides I rated as successful tours.

The runners-up were the tour for the Royal Manuscripts exhibition at the British Library which really helped me to focus and look in detail at some of the finer points of objects which I wouldn’t naturally find that interesting; and the tour of the Roman Baths at Bath, which I visited for the first time this year . It was great to be given the option of hearing from people like Bill Bryson as I moved around the baths – he’s always got something interesting to say. This tour stood out for me as being strong on direction – I always knew exactly where to stand and what to do.

But the winner for me this year was the guide for the Scott and Shackleton photography exhibition, currently on at the Queen’s Gallery. The audio tour took me on a journey with these brave explorers as they faced their various challenges along the way. The way the guide was written left me wondering what was going to happen next in the adventure – I was sometimes looking desperately for the next stop on the tour so I could find out what came next, like flipping the pages of a good novel.  It was really quite personal and I was almost in tears at the end of the exhibition.

An audio guide that moves visitors to tears? Great work!

Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination is open at the British Library until 13 March 2012.

The Roman Baths at Bath are open every day.

The Heart of the Great Alone: Scott, Shackleton & Antarctic Photography is open at the Queen’s Gallery until 15 April 2012.

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Audioguide of the year

Audioguides are like marmite – people tend to either like them or hate them. Some people will always take the option of an audioguide if it’s available while others will do everything they can to ensure they don’t have to use one.

I suppose I’m on the fence a bit – I tend to take them if I know I’ve got enough time to listen to everything in the tour and also am in the mood to read more as well and make my own meaning. Maybe it just depends what mood I’m in. As a writer of audio and multimedia guides it’s important to me to take plenty of audio tours, to hear what’s working and what’s not and to pick up new tips. And fashions seem to change as well, so it’s worthwhile keeping up to date with the latest styles and techniques.

So I decided to award a prize this year to three audio guides I rated as successful tours.

The runners-up were the tour for the Royal Manuscripts exhibition at the British Library which really helped me to focus and look in detail at some of the finer points of objects which I wouldn’t naturally find that interesting; and the tour of the Roman Baths at Bath, which I visited for the first time this year . It was great to be given the option of hearing from people like Bill Bryson as I moved around the baths – he’s always got something interesting to say. This tour stood out for me as being strong on direction – I always knew exactly where to stand and what to do.

But the winner for me this year was the guide for the Scott and Shackleton photography exhibition, currently on at the Queen’s Gallery. The audio tour took me on a journey with these brave explorers as they faced their various challenges along the way. The way the guide was written left me wondering what was going to happen next in the adventure – I was sometimes looking desperately for the next stop on the tour so I could find out what came next, like flipping the pages of a good novel.  It was really quite personal and I was almost in tears at the end of the exhibition.

An audio guide that moves visitors to tears? Great work!

Royal Manuscripts: The Genius of Illumination [http://www.bl.uk/royal] is open at the British Library until 13 March 2012.

The Roman Baths [http://www.romanbaths.co.uk/]at Bath are open every day.

The Heart of the Great Alone: Scott, Shackleton & Antarctic Photography [http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/microsites/HOTGA/] is open at the Queen’s Gallery until 15 April 2012.

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