Museums today are stepping out of the box to create interactive and immersive experiences that wow their audiences but also provide valuable learning tools. AV is taking the lead in many museums to give visitors first-hand accounts of real-life encounters and to engage them in ways that only be achieved with AV technology.
VR & AR
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are being utilized by many industries including education and healthcare to replicate real world experiences. Museums are jumping on board and bringing these experiences to their patrons to create dynamic encounters that don’t require them to leave the safety of the museum walls. First Division Museum at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL features a Blackhawk replica where 14 people can take an immersive VR trip on a compound raid and get a first-hand look at the operation through the eyes and ears of a soldier. They get the real-life feeling of actually being inside the helicopter as a team member that can only be achieved through VR.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston was robbed in 1990, losing irreplaceable artwork by such masters as Rembrandt and Degas. Using AR, museumgoers can still view the missing artwork. The Hacking the Heist app allows visitors to view the thirteen stolen works of art in the empty frames that now adorn the walls. Simply pointing their mobile device at an unoccupied frame gives them a virtual view of the artwork that once hung there.
Viewing a static board with information is no longer appealing to the technologically savvy visitor of today. With touch screen capabilities, museums have found new ways to present information that engages visitors. The David M. Rubenstein Gallery exhibition at the National Archives Museum in Washington DC utilizes a 17- foot long touch screen interactive table that illustrates how Americans have debated about and fought for rights like free speech, religion, and equality, displaying original and facsimile National Archive documents.
Museums are finding innovative ways to employ video walls into their exhibits. The Science Museum of Minnesota in Minneapolis utilizes a large video wall displayed next to a racetrack that allows users to race against their choice of a T. Rex, professional athletes, or Minnesota Twins mascot T.C. Bear.
You can expect to see more AV on your next visit to a museum. The need for museums to attract the public that now live in a world where smart phones are always within our reach will continue to increase. As museums find new ways to mesh AV and technology with their exhibits, interactivity and technology will be a driving factor in bringing new patrons to their venues.