December 7, 2011  |  I Went to MoMA and
“I went to MoMA and…”: It’s Back!

From left: Cards displayed in the lobby during phase 1. Photo by Martin Seck. Card scanner during phase 2. Photo by Tammy Shell

Last week, we launched version 2.0 of “I went to MoMA and…”, which began life as an impromptu experiment to see what would happen if we gave visitors an opportunity to share their experiences at the Museum—whatever those might be. We simply provided pencils and note cards and offered to display all the responses in the lobby, and “I went to MoMA and…” exceeded our wildest dreams, yielding an amazing range of beautiful, clever, and heartfelt hand-written and hand-drawn responses. So amazing, in fact, that they soon covered our lobby, filled a website, and became a very popular ad campaign in The New York Times, magazines, and posters throughout the city. People even started to share them online, with cards popping up on popular websites and blogs.   

Building on the original project’s success, we have relaunched “I went to MoMA and…,” incorporating a new digital and social platform that will make discovery and sharing an even bigger part of the experience. Of course we realized the project itself was inherently social, but we wanted to improve the submission and sharing process while retaining the simplicity of pencil and paper, which visitors of all ages had so easily embraced.

After months of planning and collaboration with POKE NEW YORK—whose London office’s work BakerTweet (2009) was recently featured in the exhibition Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects—the relaunch of “I went to MoMA and…” is LIVE. Once again, MoMA visitors can find pencils and note cards in the lobby or in Cafe 2, and draw and write about their experiences at MoMA—or whatever they like. But wait until you see what’s new…

Cards projected on lobby wall. Photo by Tammy Shell

After creating a card, visitors can now insert their submissions into a specially designed scanning station. Pushing a button pulls a card in, scans it, and then returns it to its owner. Seconds later, the card is placed in the queue, enlarged at 1,000 percent and ready to be projected onto MoMA’s lobby wall alongside other submissions. Simultaneously, the card also appears on the new website and mobile experience, where it can easily be found and shared using the unique URL printed on each card. If the creator claims their card (via Facebook log-in), they can even embed it on their blog!

Visitors can also browse the virtual wall of other cards or search for one in particular. A ticker at the top counts the total number of uploads in real time, and there’s also a “featured” section—our design department’s stash of cards we love most.

The "I went to MoMA and..." website

We’re so excited to have the project up and running again. As we walk through the lobby and see people leaning on walls and crouched on stairs intently writing and drawing, we have to smile, as we were initially concerned that we’d have to nudge people to participate and explain that the cards weren’t part of a survey. And as much as people are eager to create their own, it is exciting too see how much they enjoy reading everyone else’s. And so do we.

We hope you get the chance to visit MoMA and create your own card. Or do the next best thing: visit the new site and browse the over 3,000 cards submitted so far. But be warned: clicking your browser’s “refresh” button to see the most recent card scans can be very addictive. It’s like a pencil-drawn version of Twitter. We will regularly post slideshows of some of our favorite cards here on the blog, as well as updates about the (currently open-ended) project. So be sure to let us know what you think, and check back with us soon!