Ripe for Digital Transformation - Museums
Set to Lead the Future of History.

Imagine if Tutankhamun could talk…with the n-gage.io platform, he could.....

Dot Blake

Today is Alexander Graham Bell Day - the inventor of such things as the first practical telephone and the co-founder of the American Telegraph Company. In terms of transformation, the telephone is right up there with some of the biggest advances in history and with the advent of mobile communications, digital transformation permeates pretty much everything we can think of these days. Even the museum and heritage sector.

As a child, I looked forward to going to the museum – school expeditions or those precious family weekend outings.  There was something marvellous and magical about seeing a painting, an object, even a sarcophagus (I wanted to become an Egyptologist based on my single visit to the Tut exhibit) that was hundreds, if not millions of years old.  They were literally vibrating with energy and untold stories, mysteries that beckoned to be unlocked.

Even now, well past school going age, I adore movies such as National Treasure (1, 2 and 3), the Indiana Jones adventures, Fool’s Gold, A Night at the Museum (all three), and their ilk, for the sheer excitement of what I could maybe one day discover in my own back garden, on a country walk or a sandy beach.  

Of course, back then, we didn’t have social media or Netflix and the instant access to the host of entertainment mediums that today’s younger generation have.  So, with a plethora of other things to occupy curious minds, do museums and heritage exhibits still have a place in the modern world outside of the obligatory school visit or senior citizen day?

According to Kate Dearlove, director of media and content at audience engagement platform company, n-gage.io, museums have an even more important role to play than ever, and with access to highly versatile intuitive technology, museums, and heritage attractions, are poised to join the information revolution, and own it.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, visitor attractions across the world shut their doors, and our past was effectively cut off from us, but with a digital platform integrated into their offering, this would not have been the case. 

Staying in touch with our past, helps to inform our future at a societal level and from a cultural and environmental perspective too.  It is also vital in developing personal and interpersonal skills that help us humans understand our place in the world. Even more important post COVID than ever.

To affect anything meaningful in this regard, we need to progress beyond the fact filled, pen and paper tours of old, to embracing technology that truly makes history come alive – and in the palm of our hand.

Fortunately for our history and our tomorrow, it has become relatively easy to implement measures that not only assist the educator in presenting a truly engaging experience for their students but has also extended benefits for the operator (museum) itself.  

Anyone, no matter their age, can get in on the action too, for a deeper, richer, and more rewarding experience. Dearlove says that younger generations are open to embracing digital in a heritage setting, and something that the museum and cultural sector should bear in mind.  This does not negate the older generation either, who at the flip of their hand, can whip out a mobile phone and be instantly connected to the museum’s content on a far deeper level than the flat single dimension interaction of yore.  And for all visitors, the opportunity to continue the experience after the attraction doors have closed for the night (or lockdown). 

Dynamic, Audience Engagement Platforms (AEPs), are helping the museum and heritage sector tap into this new paradigm.

Mobile or web-based applications, AEPs, are powerful tools that bring the museum into the digital age, with increased information, interaction, and the ability to create two-way conversations, dynamically adjusting to the responses fielded throughout the journey.

There are many benefits to museums cross-pollinating their experiences between the physical and digital realm. For instance:

For the operator:

  • Better curation - the ability to track what works and doesn’t.  Through wayfinding and heat mapping for example, the exhibitor can discover, which portions of their exhibit attract the most attention and those that do not
  • Data driven insights – real time information that allows the museum to adapt their offerings, engagement, content etc
  • Beacon activated – with Bluetooth opened on the mobile phone, visitors can locate beacons, activate them, and engage with the material associated to the point they have discovered and unlocked
  • Integrated ticket issuing – giving direct control to the museum of who is buying, which later provides an opportunity to build out direct marketing campaigns (GDPR appropriate of course)
  • Most importantly, increased revenue generation streams and ability.

For the educator:

  • Digital lesson planning – pre-uploading of dynamic content, on-site question, and answer polls/games/surveys etc.  This is also a win for the operator as it keeps the educator and the school group within their environment – even when the student is back behind their desk
  • Superior object recognition and content enhancement – n-gage.io has a unique 3D object recognition capability 
  • Prolonged engagement – the student can engage post visit and catch-up on any missed information or dive deeper into the subject matter
  • Dynamic learning – modules that instantly adjust according to input
  • Interactive and memorable experiences and learning opportunities.  

    For the student or visitor:
  • A deeper richer experience that is more ‘real’ and with the use of gamification modules, more fun and thus more memorable. 

If you think about it, the past is what we did yesterday, not just a century or many millennia ago.  So, what will you tell the next generation, for example, about the two-years the world came to a stop? How will ‘history’ record this defining moment? How would you like to be remembered and would you wish the audience of tomorrow to hear your voice and fully appreciate you and your experience?

With technology like n-gage.io, tomorrow’s history is your recorded story today…and for museums, that represents more accurate, engaged, and compelling experiences that will stand the test of time. So, the only question is…can you afford to be forgotten?

 

Image courtesy of Unsplash

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