There is no denying of the continuing prevalence of technology installed in museums worldwide, even if the degree and types of technological utilization vary greatly from one museum to another. The problem, however, lies with the success of these museums in achieving their mission statements. With increasing availability of resources and innovations, museums can start conjuring up new ways and methods to attract more patrons, enrich their experience, collaborate with communities, and steady their position as a cultural institution. But it doesn’t necessarily mean they should all the time. I have seen museums incorporate technology in a favorable way, but I have also seen museums dump technology into exhibitions that distracts the viewers instead of supplementing the intended experience. Museums should really consider the ways technology can be appropriately implemented and carefully study the impact it has on the patron’s experience.
In the article “Data-driven enriched exhibits using augmented reality” by Warren et al., the authors discuss the ways museums can add “context or content, via audio/visual means, to the current physical space of a visitor to a museum or outdoor site,” which they define it as augmented reality. By drawing information from the data about the location of the artifacts, related events, and visitor behavior, there is a possibility of incorporating technology in a better and more useful way reducing what they call “visitor fatigue”.
The goal is to create links between the visitor’s immediate surroundings, as affected by his or her actions, and information held by the museum.
An example would be creating conversational noises in the background for specific exhibits to create resonance around the objects and place the visitors in a surrounding that reflects the historical context of the objects and the era of interest. Another example would be the sound of Morse codes when a sensor detects a visitor engaging with an object from wartime. According to the authors, all of this would be possible by, first, identifying the interaction points; second, detecting visitor action with the interaction points and the objects; third, mapping the interaction point to the object, which allows for personal and customizable experience for each visitor. An interesting case study would be the Anne Frank House, where it utilizes environmental noises and other audio/visual means to link the visitors to Anne Frank’s experience. If museums can create such a data-driven augmented reality in order to enhance the museum visitor’s experience, technology wouldn’t feel so out of place in an exhibit. Through smart implementation coupled with museum’s data, technology can evoke the intended emotions and guide the patrons toward a more cohesive understanding of the object.