Through a series of museum visits, interviews, and literature review, we narrowed in on three important developments within the 21st Century art museum space:
Reinvention of Collections
The Role of Musems
The White Cube
How might we enrich learning in art museums, founded on both the diverse histories behind the art and visitors’ individual curiosities?
How could we empower curators to create these learning experiences?
Research > Problem Space >
We then developed this problem statement. While our initial design might not solve the broader entangled issues we identified, it might add a tool to the toolkits of educators working against them.
We realized from speaking with museumgoers and curators, our industry research, and our own experiences at CMOA, that there was a lot of potential in using augmented reality to empower both museums and museumgoers to collaborate on richer learning experiences. We built this conclusion around the following insights on how the affordances of the technology might enrich both learning and curation at art museums.
Artivive, Austrian Belvedere Museum
AR In Museums
Bridging The Gap
Museums can only communicate so much with wall text and other existing tools. Augmented Reality can provide new, seamless channels through which to learn. Opt-in interactivity afford visitors a wealth of new information tactically, without overloading them
Focus On Art
Augmented reality experiences also don’t have to get in the way of the connection to art that physical presence so crucially affords. AR content can be designed with different levels of information and immersion, depending on what’s right for museum experiences
Using these new channels, museums can change the experiences they offer much more nimbly. They could better reach out to new and changing audiences, and leverage data on how visitors experience their galleries to responsively improve curation of not only virtual, but also real-life content
As we researched how augmented reality platforms could enrich museum experiences, we needed to understand how people use them, what interactions they afford, and how we might best deploy those to achieve our design goals. Even without many common consumer devices, existing AR interactions feel surprisingly intuitive, tactile, and effective on systems such as Hololens 2.
Research > AR In Museums >
To understand how to design for virtual spaces, we did a lot of technical secondary research, but also were able to demo both existing Hololens platforms. This was crucial in understanding the AR and Hololens experience, including how intuitive it was to manipulate 3D and “2D” content together in mixed reality.
We found that there’s an amazing amount you can do with this technology, and were surprised by how easy it was to pick up. We also wanted to design around the reality that it’s a very new technology for most people, especially as our users would be renting, rather than owning, it.
We designed the Artifact experience as a service in four parts: Discovery, Onboarding, Experiencing Art, and Reflection.
Visitors are introduced to the Artifact experience when they pick up museum passes on-site or online. Visitors may purchase passes just as for other special exhibits and ease in through device and content onboarding in a dedicated zone. They pick their own path through the museum, get to where they’re going, and interact with content specific to works relevant to them.
Visitors may switch things up at any time or share their journey with the Artifact community. When finished, they swap their headset for a physical keepsake with a record of the pieces they wanted to remember.
Purchasing Artifact Passes
Museumgoers purchase Artifact passes at the ticket desk. Staff direct visitors to the Artifact Experience desk to pick up headsets
Visitors show their ticket to borrow a headset. Staff assist with fitting and calibrating and visitors follow a tutorial to learn gestural interfaces
Visitors begin by choosing among:
Fully guided tours from museum’s curatorial staff
Community tours published by museumgoers
A custom tour generated from visitor preferences
They also may browse galleries and Artifact content independently
Getting To The Gallery
Lightweight visual indicators and audio instructions guide visitors to galleries, and the pieces on their chosen pathways
Virtual indicators adjacent to wall text signal where visitors can interact with Artifact content
Interacting With Art
Visitors learn about works by browsing four categories of information:
Process and Craft
Visitors rngage with content bespoke to each piece
Adapting Your Experience
Visitors may call a control panel anytime to change or exit their tour or access settings, bookmarks, and a gesture refresher if they have any issues
Sharing Your Journey
Visitors can assemble and submit their personal paths as tours to an online community. Museum staff moderate community tours and highlight them in the experience select interface
Remembering Your Tour
When they wrap up, visitors return their headset to the check-in desk, and receive a memento card showing their pathway. A QR code links to digital keepsakes showing works seen during visitors’ tours