Many people love the unique educational experience museums provide. Despite the pandemic threat, in 2020, the number of museum visitors increased from 54 million to 71 million in 2021.
Great as this is, technology can impact visitors more by providing museum visitors with a personalized experience. This is important as it engages museum visitors, offers them learning opportunities, and could even keep them loyal to the museum. From personalizing experiences, museums could also use the data to create more relevant experiences for more museum visitors.
Create Virtual Tours
Nowadays, people would generally rather stay home and watch TikTok videos than take long trips to museums. As most TikTok users know, TikTok can provide their users with a personalized experience with their algorithm. The algorithm analyzes your preferences to give you a personalized experience. Museums can harness this to create a personalized experience for their visitors which will create a better user experience and provide more learning opportunities to people who might not necessarily be inclined to visit a museum.
One way museums can personalize their experience is by developing virtual tours for people to enjoy from the comfort of their homes. Virtual tours allow visitors to customize their experience and choose which exhibits and artifacts they want to see and learn about.
For example, a virtual tour could include options for visitors to select their areas of interest, such as art, history, or science, and then provide them with a curated selection of exhibits and related information.
Virtual tours can also allow visitors to learn more about specific exhibits or artifacts that interest them by providing additional information, images, and even videos. Additionally, virtual tours can allow visitors to move at their own pace and spend as much time as they want to explore each exhibit, which can be especially beneficial for visitors who may have mobility or other challenges that make it difficult to navigate a physical museum.
Many museums are already doing this, building virtual tours of their installations. The Met, the Smithsonian, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Guggenheim, and many others are examples. They allow people to wander (albeit digitally) about their halls and bask in the sheer beauty of the different works of art through interactive digital tours.
The Met is experimenting with different ways to increase engagement and personalize visitor experience. So far, museums have used augmented reality to “play” with real objects. Also, they’ve set out to develop MetKids. This is where children can play and interact with objects and techniques from the past.
That’s not all.
They can also venture into gaming with a sharing tool through which gamers could incorporate Met artwork into Animal Crossing spaces.
Use Virtual Reality To Give Visitors Choices
The tech possibilities for museums are not limited to what’s possible online. The most exciting possibilities are in the museums themselves. By merging diverse technologies into their physical exhibits, museums can boost their visitor experience and provide a new way for people to appreciate the pieces in front of them.
To do this, museums have to make the same connection in the museum to make museum visitors experience art as though they’re watching a period film. A fantastic example is the sound installation with which the 3D reconstruction of the 6th-century Temple of Athena at Assos will come.
Through this “atmospheric piece,” visitors can admire a large-scale projection of the temple while being immersed in the sounds of nature that once surrounded it. They’ll not only be able to see what the temple looked like. They’ll be able to experience how being there physically would feel like.
3D sculpting is another interesting technique helping curators bring a new perspective to museums. By using digital tools, artists and historians can work together to recreate objects that might have been destroyed or are missing a fragment. That way, visitors only need a smartphone to leverage augmented reality and admire the intact pieces. Moreover, these 3D models can be accompanied by interesting data that elevates the whole experience.
In addition, museums can use location-based technologies to provide a personalized experience for museum visitors. For instance, with a Bluetooth beacon, museums can detect which exhibits a visitor dwells on the most. This data can then be used to create a personalized experience for them. Also, with a geofence, museums can know when visitors enter a particular location or exhibition. So, for instance, where a visitor dwells on an exhibition, museums can use this data to provide discounts or offers for those visitors to see more exhibitions similar to the ones they seem to love.
Put Interactive Art On Display
Aside from online alternatives and on-site digital enhancements, there’s something more that technology can do to change the museum experience: Become the exhibit itself completely. That’s what the Smithsonian is doing with its brand-new FUTURES exhibition, a massive exhibit spanning 32,000 square feet and four immersive zones.
The exhibit promises a combination of interactives, artworks, technologies, and ideas to show us the possible futures. In addition, there is an installation dubbed the Co-Lab that the Smithsonian presents as a first-of-its-kind collaborative design experience that allows visitors to create their future city with the help of artificial intelligence.
In addition to the Co-Lab, site-specific art installations, interactive exhibits, and future artifacts will complement the central premise. Thus, the Smithsonian bets strongly on tech to be an attraction in and of itself. Rather than using technology to enrich the traditional museum experience, technology is the exhibit’s centrepiece, inviting visitors to take a fresh new approach to the digital world surrounding them.
The FUTURES exhibition is a collaborative effort between the museum and Autodesk, the global leader in design and making technology. The company was instrumental in developing the interactive objects that appear throughout the different zones, showing the importance of establishing partnerships between organizations and tech companies to take them to the next level.
An offer like the one from FUTURES is the ultimate example of how technology can completely reshape museums as we know them.
Leverage Their Online Community
Many organizations are leaning towards leveraging the power of the community to understand user needs. Through communities, they can easily understand what users love or otherwise and use this information to create apps or products that suit the user’s needs.
Museums can do the same, too, to personalize a museum experience. By organizing online polls, using social media to create and distribute questionnaires, contests, etc., within the community, they can discover visitors or stakeholder needs. Implementing this would naturally need increased engagement as they would have to do what museum visitors or stakeholders want.
People tend to feel a stronger connection to what they relate to—art inclusive. For instance, an investor that relates to the story of a young black founder that rose against all odds because they were once there is likelier to invest in that business than someone who can’t relate.
This is why more museums must prioritize using technology to give their visitors personalized experiences. Personalization is important for museums because it allows them to provide visitors with a more tailored and engaging experience. By taking into account individual interests and preferences, museums can create exhibitions and programs that are more likely to appeal to a particular person, enhancing their enjoyment of the museum and encouraging them to return in the future.
Personalization can also help museums to understand their audience better, which can inform their programming and outreach efforts. In today’s world, where people have many different options for how to spend their time and money, providing a personalized experience is a key way for museums to stand out and attract visitors.
With these, museum visitors are sure to increase, together with revenues. This is also guaranteed to preserve the relevance of museums long-term.