The museum of the future is here. But not everyone is on board.
The creative minds behind museum curation are realizing that, by integrating technology into the visitor’s museum experience, they can engage the younger generation. The “museum of the future” will soon be coming to Los Angeles, equipped with strategically placed Bluetooth connections throughout the museum, sending visitors suggestions for what exhibits to check out–based on what they already enjoyed.
L.A.’s “museum of the future” will be built around this technology-based concept. While they are the first museum to fully implement this model, some museums have already ventured into this initiative by integrating high tech features.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art created a mobile app with the ability to search the current exhibitions and full collections. This app also provides self-guided audio tours, adapting to visitor’s location in the museum to offer more information on nearby exhibits.
The Cleveland Museum of Art decided to veer from the mobile app idea, instead pursuing a different approach; installing the largest touchscreen of its kind in the United States. As a 40-foot interactive touch screen, this Collection Wall can display between 4,200 and 4,500 artworks at any point.
The Met, located in New York, created a program to help expand technology in museums further. Their MediaLab was established nearly three years ago to observe the relationship between technology and culture. Currently, the MediaLab team is researching ways to improve the way people learn about art, culture and science.
Although many people are fond of the advancements museums are making, there are others who don’t approve of this modern take on museum culture. Some believe that the traditional experience of taking in the beauty of artwork, sculptures and installations will be lost in the excitement (and distractions) of placing technological connections in the museum itself. However, other museum curators argue that phones will be used in museums—whether they provide an app or not—and rather than fighting this trend, their museum can adapt to provide richer content and a more engaging experience.
It is a progressive time for the museum industry as visitors' expectations are changing dramatically. From giant, interactive Collection Walls to self-guided tours, the museum industry is implementing features to reactively adapt to and improve the audience's experience—but, of course, this isn't the only industry doing this. These innovations even mirror the marketing industry's role in tradeshows and office environments, where creating interactive, engaging content and mobile-based messages supersede the traditional print "artwork".
Are these high-tech museums wise for adapting to the digital age? Or does the integration of new technologies and screen-based presentations contradict the museum experience? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and stay tuned for more technology-infused news here.