There have been several interesting projects recently around how physical exhibitions and museums can make the most of digital to engage visitors before, during and after their visit and create a wholly more immersive and enjoyable experience. In today's blog I take a look at few note-worthy digital innovations in museums across the globe, which provide learnings to organisations of all kinds on how to enhance customer experiences.
Firstly to St Petersburg, Russia, where the Dalí Museum launched a simple app to promote the museum's move into spectacular new premises. Centring on what makes the artist and his collections unique, the Dalí Museum Goodpack app provided surrealist overlays which users could apply to their photos in order to create Dalí-esque images, which they could then enter into a competition - with the winners' images projected onto the museum's stunning new facade. A simple innovation, the app was successful at massively boosting awareness of the museum and its relocation, attaining over 30,000 downloads within just four weeks and attracting an influx of new visitors.
The San Antonio Museum of Art, USA, utilised Sparkatour - a customisable platform that allows small to medium-sized museums to create a mobile based guided tour of their exhibitions, thus doing away with traditional audio guide hardware. This technology creates fantastic scope to tailor visitors' experiences and optimise on reusable software to evolve with the museum's collections.
The Smithsonian Institute, the world's largest group of international museums and research centres, maximised on gamification to engage younger audiences with their collections. Using the social and location-based gaming platform SCVNGR, the organisation created interactive competitions using nine of it's museum's most popular exhibits. Visitors were encouraged to utilise their smartphones to hunt through the collections in 'spot the difference' type tasks, encouraging new layers of interaction and appreciation for the museums' exhibits from younger generations. While the initiative was largely a success, a concern raised was that it may detract from the physical content and interfere with others' experience in the museums.
In 2010, the Museum of London launched the StreetMuseum app to promote their newest exhibition and transform their somewhat tired image and reinvigorate the collections as fun and exciting. The augmented reality app aggregated over 250 images of London from days gone by, allowing users to explore historic scenes and landmarks of the city using their smartphone to overlay present scenes with the old photos and get 'lost in time' as they explored the city. The app not only succeeded in boosting brand awareness (far exceeding the target of 5,000 downloads and achieving 350,000) and attendance to the museum, but also placed the organisation in consumers' busy lives - the museum in your pocket.
This is just a few examples that showcase the value in digital storytelling to enhance visitor learning and experiences, a theme which is permeating businesses far and wide, as marketers look to present their brand's stories to add value to their customer proposition.
The overarching challenge lies in uniting the online and offline worlds, whereby you must strike a balance between creating an engaging experience with the assistance of digital technology and not distracting from the physical context. Fundamentally, you should be looking to add value to the experience, furthering the visitors' understanding and involvement with the physical and virtual content.
Have you seen any other recent examples of digital innovation in museums?