Novel audio tours guide immersion in Martin Museum’s Beachum collection

A canvas oil painting by Nelson Makamo is one of the pieces in the Beachum family collection. Abby Roper | Photographer

By Bella Whitmore | Intern

The Martin Museum inside the Hooper-Schaefer Fine Arts Center is providing new self-guided audio tours that promote the independent study of its meaningful pieces.

Currently on display at the Martin Museum is the colorful Beachum family collection, highlighting the beauty of embracing culture and shining a light on the historical significance of the African diaspora.

Art pieces from the collection will be on display until Nov. 23 and count as a Creative Arts Experience credit. From collages to paintings to mixed media, the collection has it all.

“[The Beachum family collection] had a really good variety of professionals in different stages of their career, which I thought would be really great for students to see and understand how being a professional works and what that looks like at different stages,” Allison Chew, director of the Martin Museum, said.

Mike Schuetz, collections manager at the Martin Museum, said there’s a rhyme and reason to each piece in the collection.

“They’re not collecting art just to collect assets,” Schuetz said. “They truly have beliefs behind what they’re doing. They are very conscientious about it, and that is the highlight for me.”

The exhibit differentiates itself through the unique way it is created to be experienced: self-guided audio tours. Visitors are expected to bring their own electronic device and headphones. Upon arrival, QR codes are available to scan to access the audio accompaniment and begin the tour.

Self-guided audio tours are no new innovation, but for the Martin Museum, they were a very deliberate choice to allow visitors to fully immerse themselves in the experience.

“It lends to a little more introspection and conversation within oneself,” Chew said. “It allows people to interact genuinely with the work on their own terms and not be led by the hand so much.”

San Marcos, Calif., junior Jake Pistone said the audio tour was a better experience than one guided by a museum host.

“The audio tour helped me focus on one work of art at a time and allowed me to go at my own pace,” Pistone said.