Look but don’t touch? Digital touch technologies bring museum exhibitions to life

Working in the cultural sector, one of the most dreaded yet unforunately quite common events one can experience is overhearing a child complain about how ‘boring’ the museum is. In the post, all too ofteb a visit to the museum would be limited to looking at an exhibit behind a glass case and reading some more information available on the label next to it. If a visitor was lucky, they might have a guide to explain to them what they are looking at, or hire an audio guide device from the museum reception. Hardly the most engaging of experiences.

These days technology has completely revolutionised how we can communicate with our visitors, making it possible to build digital and interactive exhibitions that can dramatically enrich the experience on offer at a cultural location. There are two components to any digital communication strategy: selecting and deploying the right hardware with which to communicate with visitors, and the creative component of building a digital experience that is powered through this hardware. The possible hardware tools of the trade are many: digital kiosks and touchscreens, tablets, Bluetooth beacons and Infopoints, Infrared sensors, Wifi, virtual or augmented reality devices, projectors, and a host of other connectivity devices. In many cases, installation of such technologies has been beyond the budget of most smaller locations, which is why in our own company we focus on providing solutions and possibilities that can fit any budget.

However, it is the experience that technology makes possible that is the most important component of any engagement strategy, and not the technology powering it. No visitor after all wants to use technology simply to view the same information that is available to them on a traditional exhibit label.In this post, we wanted to examine more specifically how tablets and touchscreens have been used in museums around the world to provide visitors with a more engaging experience. To fire off your imagination, we have prepared a list below of just a few interesting experiences that five museums from around the world have built: