How might we make museums more interesting?

Aug 29 2014

Museums are boring. Any 10-year-old can tell you that. You go in, and you’re shushed, told not to touch anything, and told to be appreciative of the history, or the art, or whatever those splatters of paint on display is.

What isn’t boring are video games, live blogs and virtual interaction with the real world. And that’s why these things and more are being coupled with museums – to un-boring them.

Walking Tour is a creative and interactive way to enjoy a trip to your favorite museum with your smartphone as your guide. After installing speakers at each exhibit that emit ultrasound waves, our smartphone app will be able to interpret the sound, recognize which exhibit you’re viewing, and instantly feed you a wealth of interesting background information. It does all this, and with you having to tap a single screen.

Our team is tossing around ideas on good ways to include features like a map of the museum’s exhibits, or blogs about the more popular exhibits with experts to lead the discussions. We even dreamed up a library of playlists full of songs that inspired certain art works or that were released during the same era.

The National Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art, and other museums offer similar apps. We found, though, that many of these apps have limited content. A single app may be dedicated solely to a special exhibit at a museum. Or the app may be just as boring as any normal museum, leading you carry around a monotonous curator inside your cell phone.

We also noted that none of those museums use a technology as convenient as the one our team is working with. Other apps require some type of manual navigation to access the information you want. Our app is navigation free. As long as it is at least left open in the background, it’s able to detect each exhibit’s unique sound wave pattern and bring exactly what you want instantly to you.

This app to complement your museum tours is a way to ensure you get the most out of your visits. For this contribution to humankind, Lincoln Pennington, Pamela Brody, and Justina Vasquez would be honored to be considered in your thoughts of overwhelming praise:

Lincoln Pennington is a junior majoring in journalism and mass communication (public relations) and political science with a minor in entrepreneurship. He started at the Lab in January 2013. His interests include politics, digital media and new technology.

Pam is a sophomore from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., studying business administration and global studies. Pam loves entrepreneurship and creative innovation, which is why she’s so excited to work at Reese this semester!

Justina Vasquez is a first-time intern with Reese News Lab. She’s a sophomore journalism major thinking about going either to law school or business school. She loves ideas and that weird tingly feeling she gets in her mind when she’s working on a cool problem, and that’s why she’s here working on a great project this semester.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *