I ought to ask -- does "Pachyderm" arise from the trunk of goodies therein?

Somewhere in my circus performer's tent, lives a secret geek. I love to play with with intuitively designed software -- the programs that feel and act like building blocks and/or collage layers are the best match for my brain. Don't get me wrong, I avoid anything that looks even like html code -- OK maybe a few little sideways bracket triangles (you know you can't make those show up by typing them here ) are sneaking into my tool box -- but I lean toward programs that put everything into WYSIWYG and let you wiggle it all around. I'll never give up the tactile pleasures of cloth, but I find the architectural limitlessness of the digital world quite seductive.

I am at a 3 day users conference for a presentation (think web page and/or powerpoint -- but different) interface that is spreading through the world of museum professionals across the state, thanks to a project funded by the Edward and Betty Marcus Foundation that puts Texas museums into the loop. Pachyderm has been developed with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the New Media Consortium, with support from the  Institute for Museum and Library Services, this software/project/interface  has amazing potential for all manner of  creative artistic play -- not to shortchange its impact on digital education and storytelling for museums.

You can follow the links above to find out more. Be sure to poke around on the pages published as examples and don't miss the SFMOMA "Making Sense of Modern Art" site. If you want to play too you can inquire about trial access to the server where the open-source software to do the authoring lives and breathes. For now, its free, though eventually  one will probably need a membership to get into the playpen.

Somewhat like the Squarespace architecture and authoring that underlies this site (and is the reason I pay a small fee monthly rather that using Blogger or one of the other free blog publishers) Pachyderm is a highly flexible set of templates that can be EASILY linked, loaded with ones own pictures, movies, audio and graphic images --then adds some nifty special stuff like sound cues for accessibility.  What you end up with is a Flash presentation that can live on a CD, on  your computer or be uploaded to a hosting web server. Believe me, I know nothing about the tech geekie level of all this -- though you can apparently get involved as a developer if you lean that way -- but as a new convert I can't wait to play. I can see immediate application for a museum/library/family art program that I'm working on for the summer in conjunction with the Botero exhibit that's coming this way.

If you want to play hands-on: 

"Pachyderm 90-day trial authoring accounts are currently available on request for those who wish to take Pachyderm for a test drive. For more information, please see About Pachyderm. To request an account, please send email to"

Watch this space for further developments.