How to engage visitors emotionally

“Tech can, and should, bring joy and enrichment to galleries.” – Brendan Ciecko, CEO of Cuseum

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Believe it or not, Museums are investing in technology with the purpose of reshaping the traditional museum into a conjuring experience. They are not only acknowledging the new services as Facebook, YouTube or Snapchat but they are actually trying to find ways of fitting in alongside them.

Museums are investing in technology

Some museums like the MET museum from New York are actually investing in a digital media department composed of 70 staff and 70 more handling tech hardware in general.

Museums are doing everything possible to fight their competition. But as Sree Sreenivasan, the MET’s chief digital officer is saying “Our competition is Netflix and Candy Crush, not other museums.”

“Our competition is Netflix and Candy Crush, not other museums”

From 3D scanning and 3D printing, to virtual reality and special apps, these technologies are being applied in a multitude of ways. Still other technologies are being tested and developed as museums seek to ever broaden public access.

The digital revolution, managed to disrupt the whole industry. Museums are starting to implement cutting edge technology not only to engage visitors emotionally but  as well to create powerful avenues for learning.

Technology is engaging visitors and creating learning avenues

So without further ado here are some of the technologies museums are implementing:


With NFC & RFID technology used in museums, there is going to be no need of tour guides, asking  questions or wondering about what you are looking at. Some museums around the world are employing NFC and RFID so that visitors only need to swipe their phone near a specially designed hot spot in front of the exhibit to be given a full tutorial and information on the things they are seeing in front of them.

With the purpose of creating a conspicuous experience museums have started to embed technology not only for  informative purpose but as well to create a powerful avenue for learning. Creating interactive trivia games, visitors have to answer correctly questions using the information found within the museum and by answering correctly the questions  the tourists will have the opportunity to win sweepstakes.

Embedding technology can create a flawless experience

NFC and RFID can be used not only within mobile apps(active mode) but as well integrated into your wristband(passive mode). When registering, the wristband can be linked to your social media account and allow you take photos in designated locations which can be posted automatically on your social media profile or kept in your memory bank. As well you can tap your wrist onto art which you liked in order to memorize it and explore it later. The wristbands can provide you access to your entitled locations through the museum without having to hand out your ticket all the time. And of course for the little ones who are getting easily distracted and bored an immersive adventure can be created.


“My sense is that beacons aren’t a life raft, but a bridge to the next generation of museum users”  Elizabeth E. Barker, said,  director of the Boston Athenaeum.

Beacons can detect where visitors are and send them specific information

Beacons are considered as the enabling technology for devices to alert apps or websites (which the user has opted into) when someone approaches or leaves a location. In other words, museum or other venues that have beacons in place can detect where a visitor is at any given moment and send him specific information.

Museums can also use beacons to send additional info; for example , a visitor standing near a painting might get a phone alert directing them to rich , interactive content relating to the painting.

The Brooklyn Museum is using iBeacon technology as a way for guests to interact with museum experts.

3D printing and scanning

De Young Museum – San Francisco, MET and Brooklyn Museum are just a few examples of museums whom adopted  3D printing and scanning.

De Young Museum has collaborated with Google on the Google Art Project , where its collection of art is being digitized for online viewing, the de Young also dabbled with 3D printing when it needed to create a special stand for an 18th-century French clock. Using MakerBot Replicators and 3D CAD software, the museum fabricated a plastic stand that fits the clock perfectly.

Augmented reality

Through AR visitors can find out more about a specific art piece by placing their smartphone or tablet over the object.

With augmented reality, visitors can use a simple smartphone to discover more information about a piece of art in an interactive manner. For example , placing a smartphone or tablet over an ancient statue could display missing parts that have broken off – giving the visitor a glimpse of how it would have looked when it was new. Because AR responds to your movement in the environment, the experience is also completely 3D.

Working with Samsung, the British Museum used AR to create an education program for kids, where they can explore virtual content as they wander through the museum. AR is still in its infancy, but museums around the world are already testing its potential.

Same as the rest of the museums described above, Getty Museum- Los Angeles is trying to stand out through their augmented reality art collection. For example it allows their visitors to explore from their laptops a 17th-century cabinet , by overlaying a virtual 3D object atop a live feed. Users can interact with the object, working in conjunction with the viewer’s body movements.

Virtual Reality

Discover the hidden beauty of the deep sea, fly to the farthest reaches of outer space, take a ride through the complex inner-workings of the human body, and more.This is what Virtual Reality can bring to you.

Virtual Reality allows visitors to participate in a immersive journey

The most comprehensive VR experience ever launched at a museum, The Franklin Institute- Philadelphia is now home to spectacular immersive films and state-of-the-art technology that will transform your view of the world. Using a HTC Vive or Oculus Rift you can be transported to another dimension where anything is possible – where elements are reacting to your movements and commands.

Most of the museums are using not one but rather a slew of tech tools in order to recreate the desired experience. Not sure if it is fortunate or unfortunate, most of the museums will have to embrace tech in order to keep their doors open. Some of the museums which also implemented cutting edge technology are: The museum of London, Centre Pompidou – Paris, Bill Nye’s Climate Lab at the Chabot Space & Science Center, Museum of Natural History – Denmark, National Museum – Kuala Lumpur, Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York City, Louvre Museum – Paris, etc.

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Article written by .

Mike Dragan is the cofounder and CEO of Oveit and works daily on providing better tools for live experiences. Mike has a background in computer science and loves building digital products.


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