New Life, Old Galleries: A conversation about audience engagement and storytelling using augmented reality, image recognition, and location awareness

Professional Forum

Silvina Fernandez-Duque, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, USA, Robin White Owen, MediaCombo, Inc., USA, John Gordy, National Gallery of Art, USA, Hilary-Morgan Watt, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, USA, Sara Pitcairn, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, USA

The cultural sector, and museums specifically, is joining other industries as they explore how using Augmented Reality can help them achieve their goals. AR bridges digital and physical worlds, accompanying users as they move through space, augmenting their activities with information. For museums it’s a new and beautiful way to offer visitors more engaging exhibition experiences by adding 3-dimensional aural and visual information to objects on display.

In this panel, a moderator will lead a conversation with panelists and attendees about museum experiences using augmented reality, image recognition and location awareness to bring new life and engagement to spaces that cannot be altered. The panelists will share insights gained from projects at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Morgan Library & Museum, and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, to spark conversation around various approaches to using these different technologies.

At the Holocaust Museum, the three-story tower of photographs from a single village is an icon in the Permanent Exhibition. How do visitors understand and experience the tower differently when they see the photographs using AR? What are the lessons and impressions they take away?

In the Morgan Library’s AR experience, The 1907 Tour: Pierpont Morgan’s Library Revealed, we included a mix of things that could no longer be seen, things that were hard to see, and aspects of Pierpont Morgan’s life that visitors never get to see. Do visitors experience the tour as a story? If so, does that help them remember their favorite details?

The Hirshhorn Museum commissioned Hirshhorn Eye (Hi) from a simple desire to connect art lovers with art makers and allow visitors to come face-to-face with artists for free, using only their phones. The web-based platform creates an instantaneous experience without having to download an app.

Bibliography:
Augmented Reality is Transforming Museums
https://www.wired.com/story/augmented-reality-art-museums

How Will Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Transform Museums?
https://medium.com/@_smartify/how-will-augmented-reality-and-virtual-reality-ar-vr-transform-museums-128bb58c2667

Internet Artists Invaded the MoMA With a Guerrilla Augmented Reality Exhibit
https://www.aam-us.org/wire/motherboard/internet-artists-invaded-the-moma-with-a-guerrilla-augmented-reality-exhibit/

Five Augmented Reality Experiences That Bring Museum Exhibits to Life
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/expanding-exhibits-augmented-reality-180963810/

Augmented Reality is Trending Across the Most Unexpected Industries
https://arvrjourney.com/augmented-reality-is-trending-across-the-most-unexpected-industries-d82c9e20d4a9