The only parts of many a museum that work well are their collections, ticket purchase and paper maps. Few museums or their exhibits are either greatly enlightening or much fun. Even diligent museums fail to provide more than a perfunctory explanation of their most important exhibits. And then there are tech vendors pushing expensive and difficult to adopt virtual reality or augmented reality that are limited for content or extensive engagement. No wonder museums rank lower on tourist appeal. Ironically, many a museum now probably belongs in a museum!
Tried getting your kids excited about going to a museum? They are looking for entertainment and if you are lucky, you might find it the one or two displays in a museum … if that museum has lots of money. Or perhaps you were looking for a deep dive and to understand an exhibit in detail. Then you have to either pay for a tour or rent a ratty device. How many people touched that device before you … that day? How many thousands of ears has the headset been on before you? Want to do the research yourself? The museum won’t help you with that. They just like to provide a “one size fits all” boilerplate explanation and God help you if you want more. Museums are super serious and will never tell you anything fun or pop culture about their exhibits. A much younger tour guide might.
Ever been to a new fangled virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) exhibit at a museum? Now did that let you actually play with or learn about more than one or two exhibits? Should you leave after seeing the few that were covered? Technology vendors show flashy ideas that have a short appeal first to the folks at the museum and then to the visitor. However they are both expensive and difficult to implement. Content development is made difficult by the technology itself as well as by weird exacting standards set by the museums staff, and by the tedium of propagating to all the items in the museums collection. The idea of VR in a physical museum when attempting to enhance experience of the exhibit is headed in the right direction but fails for the above reasons. Lets just wait for full VR museums that are free on the internet … or maybe some such will show up a bit later in this article!
Museums are missing the bus on multiple fronts! Core education objectives are inadequately met. Entertainment is impossible because of a “one size fits all” experience constrained to wall plates or paper guides or recorded audio. And staff gets very distracted by shiny new ideas that simply do not add more than a few small points of interest.
We are in an age of smart phones, social media, and pop culture along with extensive content and points of view on the internet. Museums should merely act as portal to all content relevant or connected in some manner to their exhibits. They can definitely offer their own explanations of an exhibit but should refrain from taking on the role of de facto experts. And they should provide all of this in portals accessible via anyone’s smart phone.
Museums must respect the following principles of the current age or risk themselves being relegated to history:
- Mobile: If it is not findable, understandable and shareable on mobile it might as well not exist
- Bespoke: Everyone has a different perspective and reason for a museum visit and even on individual exhibits. “One size fits all” is dead
- Video: No one reads. Explain and entertain in video or be ignored
- Coverage: Creating an interesting experience for less than 10% of displayed exhibits is just not enough to sustain interest about everything else in the museum
- Portal: Curate learning and fun experiences. Old timers driving standards and uniformity will be left behind by the profusion of expertise, perspectives, creativity and opinions on the internet. Open pipes. Do NOT throttle them.
We at Novus Laurus have been preaching this for years to stodgy museum staff and boards. They always have some other priority. We decided to do it ourselves and modernize museum experiences by creating mobile portals of bespoke video that cover the most important exhibits in prominent museums. See here for a full interactive mobile tour of the Museum Of Fine Arts Boston with video guides for the most important exhibits.
Click any of the links below to watch interactive guides made of video snippets with links to much more … on your smart phone. You will find interactive museum and premises maps for your phone too! See all the museums we have covered so far here. Make sure to touch each orange spot on a map or pop up in a video.
See facts or fun or about the artist and even gift shops!
See just the snippet or follow the links to see more secrets! Each colored spot on the video progress bar at the bottom is a link to more.
Is all museum stuff just ancient or is there fun pop culture that makes it much more interesting? Watch Beyonce at the Louvre while learning about The Winged Victory:
Be fascinated by Roxy Paine’s astounding metal tree at the National Gallery of Art in DC while also getting a great look at her other sculptures such as this one in Philadephia:
Been to Paris? Want to see the Louvre? Whet your appetite, learn or dig deep here:
The Louvre Museum, Paris - Novus Laurus Cultural
Touch the highlighted orange points and then click the thumbnail that comes up to view video. Touch the highlighted…
Tired of museums? Do the same thing at Franklin Park Zoo in New England:
FRANKLIN PARK ZOO - Novus Laurus Cultural
Interactive Video Guides for exhibits & Interactive Map for Franklin Park Zoo that allow visitors to see fun or facts…
See the New England Aquarium!
Remember a favorite exhibit? Want to relive it, send your friend a gift and help them understand it? Or just impress someone with a Picasso from MOMA? Make sure to click gift shot item on the menu after the video starts:
Three Musicians by Pablo Picasso - MOMA NYC - Novus Laurus Cultural
LOOK FOR "INTERACTIVE MESSAGES" WITHIN THE VIDEO AND TOUCH TO NAVIGATE
Make your favorite museum see how you would like your experience improved by presenting the above at a ticketing booth or in a comment on their social media page. Yes they need to know what you want!
The collections in these museums are glorious and valuable in teaching us of worlds, perspectives, ideas and cultures. Let us NOT allow stodgy unappealing experiences make them forgotten despite … or because … they are in a museum!