Written by: Carli Mandel, Program Assistant

Attempting to familiarize oneself with all the interesting works, various cultures, time periods and artistic movements within DOMA’s vast collection can be a daunting task, a feat proving difficult even for the most experienced of visitors, as well as DOMA employees alike. This task has been greatly simplified and made much easier through the creation of the free mobile DOMA Project app, with content provided by Ball State art history professor Lara Kuykendall and the students of her AHS 450 Museum Theory and Practice course. The app is categorized into 2 main sections to help DOMA visitors learn more about the museum and its collection: fun & games and themes.

As a previous student in the aforementioned course taught by Lara Kuykendall, I was able to gain first-hand experience working with my fellow classmates to create the content for a game found within the fun & games section of the DOMA Project app, titled “Master of the Arts.” For our particular game, which contained trivia based on the works of art and historical periods within the museum, we were tasked with creating the written content for all the questions, answers and fun facts included in the game. This information was then translated and transcribed by tech staff affiliated with Ball State University, who were able to help turn our theoretical game into a full-fledged reality. Two others games were also created by my fellow classmates, one titled “Art Memes,” which allows the user to create unique memes based of off works of art within DOMA, and “The Hunt,” which enables players to go on a visual scavenger hunt throughout the museum for select images.

In addition to the fun games included within the DOMA Project, the more expansive themes section of the app includes 12 categories centered around certain DOMA artworks specifically chosen to represent a certain concept, theme or movement in global history or culture. The 12 themes presented are as follows: The Abstract, Politics, Fashion, Geology, Religion, Strength, Creatures, Battles, Sexuality and Romance, Ceremony and Ritual, Tranquility and Feminism and Women. While this section of the app only begins to skim the surface of the thousands of works housed within DOMA’s collection, it provides museum visitors with the means to be able to browse some of the most celebrated items in our collection, as well as to be able to make artistic and historical connections that transcend both time and global cultural boundaries.

The benefits of utilizing the DOMA Project App for educational purposes was not lost on our museum’s docents, with the idea being put forward to use the 12 thematic tour categories to dictate the content of docent’s choice tours throughout the fall and spring semesters. These tours have proven to be consistently successful, fun and informative for all who’ve chosen to attend/participate over the past eight or so months, and have allowed groups of Ball State students, as well as those in the Muncie community, to utilize the free educational resources DOMA has to offer to the public. I personally have led tours for such themes as Romance and Sexuality, Feminism and Women and Creatures over the past two semesters, and I’ve found the experience to be quite an enriching and rewarding one. One of the things I love the most about these thematic tours, and being a docent in general, is the fact that I always gain new perspectives and insights from my tour members on works of art I see every day, and am constantly learning more from others than I ever would have by myself.

The last of the docent thematic tours is quickly coming upon us, a tour on the theme of Tranquility (taking place on April 28 from 2:30-3:30 pm), and with it, we docents will begin to craft new and exciting tours for the upcoming fall and spring semesters here at the museum. Despite the end of the docent thematic tours come May, fear not, for the DOMA Project App will still be available for downloadable use, on the Apple and Google Play stores, for the public for a long while to come. This app is an invaluable educational tool that any and all can access for more information about the David Owsley Museum of Art, its collection and the vast history it contains, so I highly recommend downloading it today.