The Perspective 
Wednesday, 22 April 2015

By Jessica Glynn - Reality Interactive

We’ve launched digital installations in retail environments, automotive dealerships and at events and we’re always watching for what’s next in technology.

But maybe a better question is what’s the next environment?

Schools and office spaces are incorporating video walls and digital signage for communication. But for really interesting projects, digital installations in museums may be the next big thing.

We already reported on #MuseumWeek, an event which used Twitter to create a digital art project in real-time. In the Paris leg of this campaign, digital touch screens were used in the museums.

The Smithsonian’s Digital Makeover

The highest profile example of a museum going digital is the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian, which closed for three years to reopen with a high-tech renovation.  A digitized collection allows visitors to explore collections on 4K touchscreen tables. Seven of these tables are installed throughout the museum. The size of the tables allows up to six visitors to explore them at the same time. On the table users can learn about an object’s details, history and related objects.

Feeling creative? Try out the Immersion Room where visitors get to draw their own wallpaper. In the Immersion Room digital wallpapers are projected from floor to ceiling. Visitors can also create their own designs, and change colors and patterns. Some of the pre-made patterns also have audio commentary from designers.

Jean Paul Gaultier at the Grand Palais

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has incorporated a participatory installation for the Paris debut of the travelling Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit. The installation is on the staircase between the first and second floors of the museum. The design is inspired by the catwalk from Jean Paul Gaultier’s fashion shows. When guests reach the top of the stairs a camera triggers, and captures their silhouette.

These images then become part of a design which uses Gaultier motifs. The video created is unique to to each participant. It is then projected as a backdrop to the staircase landing. The projection continuously runs in real-time, and remixes past visitors with new colors so the visuals stay new. Even celebrities like Kylie Monogue (pictured) have participated.

Final Thoughts

Modernizing museums with digital interactions is a great way to help visitors to stay engaged and to create lasting memories. The same principals we use in retail design apply to museums and other environments as well.

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