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The Woody Guthrie Center

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The Woody Guthrie Center
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Many museums today face the challenge of attracting visitors on a consistent basis and in numbers that more than offset operating costs. The new Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa is not immune to this challenge, but as a result of a number of factors, already finds itself enjoying a steady and growing base of visitors. Among these are educators in Tulsa's public schools who see the center as a vital resource and use it in planning and teaching a variety of courses. But these and other museum-goers of all ages are enticed into the center to learn about Woody Guthrie as a result of its extensive use of technology, including several arrays of advanced displays from Planar Systems.

One's first encounter with Woody is at Woody's America, an interactive map in the entrance area based on a nine-panel (3 x 3) array of Planar's Clarity™ Matrix LCD Video Wall displays (LX46HD-L) measuring nearly 75 square feet. Since the video wall is equipped with Planar's unique Extended Ruggedness and Optics (ERO™) feature – an optically-bonded glass protective surface – hundreds if not thousands of people can touch the Clarity Matrix video wall every day, much like they touch their smart phones and tablets, to enter the world of Woody Guthrie and explore his writing, art and music in exquisite detail. The Clarity Matrix video wall stands up to the task, performing reliably up to 10 hours a day, six days a week, nearly all year-round.

Clarity Matrix displays provide engaging interactive platform

Woody's America grew from the collaboration of exhibit designer, Gallagher and Associates; systems integrator, Mode Systems; media design specialists, GTOO Media; and a team of IT and museum and gallery professionals within the Woody Guthrie Center. Their combined efforts produced an exhibit centered around a unique digital map of the U.S. with interactive icons placed at locations where Woody lived, visited, worked or performed. Planar engineered the Clarity Matrix array on which to display the map, and embedded a network of 30 touchpoints behind the displays' ERO glass face. As a result, one person or groups visitors can touch icons on the map – simultaneously – to open windows of information pertinent to any icon, and to reveal and explore a reservoir of content about Woody Guthrie, his life and work.

"The Planar video wall is a really important asset to the center. It draws people in, introduces them to the world of Woody Guthrie in a unique way, and helps create an environment that they'll want to experience again and again. In that way, Planar is helping us build a very desirable brand," Deanna McCloud, executive Director, The Woody Guthrie Center.

According to Marc Headley, Owner of Mode Systems, Planar's Clarity Matrix is the right solution for the Woody Guthrie Center – and for other museums as well – for a number of reasons. Among these, he says, is the fact that Clarity Matrix meets the needs of a demanding, high-traffic environment, with features such as a touch-based system, a design that ensures reliability by remotely locating heat-inducing elements, redundancy in key components that all but guarantees uninterrupted operation, and an industry-leading warranty which ensures two-day replacement should a display ever fail.

Clarity Matrix provides tangible business benefits for Planar's partners

"It's good for our business too. Only two technicians are needed to install it and it goes up quickly with Planar's EasyAxis™ Mounting System, so our costs are kept to a minimum." Further, Headley likes the intuitive manner by which Clarity Matrix is configured and operated. "It could go down when museum power is lost as a result of one of Tulsa's legendary summer storms. But the museum staff can easily bring it back online from the supplied remote or a control touch tablet, which saves us both a costly service call."

Mike Buday, Executive Producer with GTOO Media says Clarity Matrix delivers on image quality; notably in its 1920 x 1080 HD resolution, 700-nit brightness, and 3500:1 contrast ratio. These are important, he says because so much of the map content is based on enlarged and digitally enhanced versions of Guthrie's sketches which depict what he saw and experienced as he traveled across the U.S. "We had to keep true to what Woody created, right down to the colors he used and the thickness of his sketch lines. Clarity Matrix allowed us to scale up this content and have it retain its original look on the video wall; that's really important because people are looking for authenticity."

The Clarity Matrix also provides a small (5.5mm) tiled bezel width, which is the smallest of any similar large format displays on the market. "The result is that when any content is spread across multiple Clarity Matrix displays, or when a viewer drags an icon or image from display to display, there are no large gaps to spoil the viewing experience. This is not so the case with just about any other product that's out there on the market. It's another example of why we see such strong benefit in Planar and the Clarity Matrix product."