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Caitlin Dover (BGC ’12)
Associate Director, Digital Media, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Clara Boesch (BGC ’16)
Manager, Interactive, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 

“A Different Kind of Guide for the Guggenheim”

On October 21, 2019, the Guggenheim Museum launched a new audio guide about the architecture of the Frank Lloyd Wright building. Created in collaboration with the design podcast 99% Invisible, it represented a departure from past audio guides that the museum had offered its visitors, in both form and content. Equally unprecedented, a version of the guide was simultaneously released as a podcast episode, reaching listeners outside the museum walls. Narrated by 99% Invisible’s Roman Mars, and featuring Guggenheim curators and staff speaking about the design, construction, and day-to-day operation of the museum, the tone of the piece is conversational rather than didactic. Instead of creating a heroic narrative about Wright’s famous building, the Guggenheim’s producers, Laura Kleger and Caitlin Dover, along with manager Clara Boesch and curator Ashley Mendelsohn, worked with Mars to craft a piece that shines a light on aspects of the building that might go unnoticed—the small marks left on the floors by past exhibitions, and the daily challenge of painting the museum’s interior, for instance. Visitors can also hear in detail how curators install art in the museum’s unique space, and the ingenious solutions Wright’s contractors found to enable the construction of a spiral building.

In this talk, Dover and Boesch will discuss the process of developing this unusual guide, from the initial connection with 99% Invisible to the recording sessions with Mars. They will discuss the choices that shaped and informed the guides’ topics, and led to the release of not just a guide, but a podcast episode with thousands of downloads. The Guggenheim’s audio guide takes you behind the scenes of the museum—this talk will take you behind the scenes of the guide.

Thursday, March 19, 12:15 pm
38 West 86th Street, Seminar Room

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Caitlin Dover is Associate Director, Digital Media at the Guggenheim Museum. Her past positions include Managing Editor for Print, Web Editor for the AIGA’s Living Principles website, and Web Editor/Writer for the BMW Guggenheim Lab. Her writing on visual culture has appeared in Communication Arts, Print, Metropolis, and ELLE Decor, and she has worked as an instructor at Pratt Institute. She holds an MA in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture from Bard Graduate Center.

Clara Boesch is a Manager, Interactive at the Guggenheim Museum supporting the Digital Guide program. Most recently, she worked at Acoustiguide as Associate Digital Producer of audio tours and mobile apps for museums and cultural sites across the country. She holds an MA in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture from Bard Graduate Center, and a BA in American Studies with a minor in film studies from Union College.