• Jaap Gielink

How Museums Can Use Augmented Reality Technology to Engage Visitors



Museums are always looking for ways to engage visitors and create unique experiences. And with the rise of augmented reality (AR), more museums are starting to experiment with this new technology to enhance the visitor experience.

AR can be used in a variety of ways in a museum setting, from providing information about exhibits to helping visitors navigate the space. And it’s not just restricted to museums – other cultural institutions like libraries and galleries are also starting to explore how AR can be used to engage visitors.


What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that puts a filter or digital layer over your reality. This layer can consist of textual information and visual elements, such as videos and animations. AR has a wide range of potential applications in the museum setting, from educational games and exhibits to wayfinding and tour guidance.

AR technology is still new, but museums are already beginning to experiment with its potential. The British Museum, for example, has developed an AR app that allows users to explore a 3D reconstruction of the ancient city of Pompeii. The app allows users to virtually walk through the city, and see how it would have looked at the time of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Other museums are using AR to enhance their exhibitions and tours. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has developed an AR tour that guides visitors around the museum's collection. The tour includes information about specific works of art, as well as audio commentary from artists and curators.


The potential for AR in museums is vast, and it is likely that we will see more and more examples of its use in the coming years.


How can AR engage visitors at a museum? Two examples.

By overlaying digital content on top of the physical world, AR can provide a unique and immersive experience that can bring museum exhibits to life. AR will help visitors to better understand your exhibitions.

For example, visitors could use their smartphones to scan a painting and receive information about the artist or the history behind the work. Or, they could see through an object to see the (otherwise invisible) side.

Here are a two examples explained in more detail.


Example 1: display information about the art piece

One of the most popular ways museums are using AR is by creating virtual displays of artworks. For example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has an app that allows users to view a 3D reconstruction of the Egyptian Temple of Dendur. This experience gives users a better understanding of the scale and grandeur of the temple, which is something that can’t be conveyed through photos or even traditional video. Let alone an audio guide.


Another popular use of AR in museums is providing educational content about specific artworks. The British Museum, for example, has an app that provides information about various artifacts in its collection.

The main benefit of this, is that an AR tour is self-guided. Meaning that the visitor can visit the museum at their own pace and learn more about a piece of art when they want to.



Example 2: virtual guides

Museums are using AR technology to show virtual guides to visitors. A virtual guide is a recorded person you can see in AR, who will tell a story about an art piece or the location you are at. This allows visitors to walk through the museum, on their own pace, with a knowledgeable guide.


You can create a virtual guide, by filming someone on front of a green screen. The video can be used to place the virtual guide in AR.



How to start using AR at museums

If you're a museum or cultural institution considering using AR, here are a few tips on how to get started:


1. Define your goals and objectives. What do you want to achieve by using AR? Is it to educate visitors about your exhibits? Or to offer a more interactive and fun experience? Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can start planning your AR content and experiences accordingly.


2. Consider your audience. Who will be using your AR experiences? Will it be families with young children, school groups, or adults? Different age groups will have different needs and expectations, so it's important to tailor your AR offerings accordingly.

3. Choose the right platform. There are a number of different AR platforms available, so it's important to choose one that meets your needs and budget. One platform you should definitely check out is Wintor. This platform makes it super easy to create an AR tour without any technical knowledge.


4. Create engaging content. Start with using videos, photos and text in AR.


Conclusion

Augmented reality is providing new opportunities for museums to engage visitors and enhance their experience. This technology has the potential to bring exhibits to life, immersing visitors in history and culture like never before. As museums continue to experiment with AR, we can only imagine the exciting new ways they will find to engage and educate visitors of all ages.


If you want to start experimenting, try Wintor with a free trial.

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