Museums Contact

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One of my three streams for the SNU is to go down to London and see how the big museums are implementing AR currently. After a lot of internet research trying to find who has what and where they are I have found 4,

1) Museum of London

location based apps to show images from the past in the present.

Also Key Roman sites in London, such as the amphitheatre at Guildhall, are brought to life through augmented reality video – produced by HISTORY™

2)Science Museum

James May talks to you about the exhibits

3)Natural History Museum

The Attenborough Studio where visitors can see DA talking (virtually) and showing all sorts of animals past and present on mobile devices supplied by the museum itself to an amphitheatre style presentation.

They also have Augmented reality Coelophysis using a webcam on a computer and trigger image for the camera to see

4) British Museum

Use mobile phones to follow an augmented reality trail around the Museum and solve clues about the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead

All of these things are great but to get to all 4 in 5 hours will be impossible so I have chosen just the two (Natural History & Science Museum)to go and visit.

I have found a couple of names and departments through investigation in both museums and have discovered that the Science Museum has a New Media Department (Dave Patten – HoD), which will be the right connection, and within that if I want to document my visit I will need to make contact through the press office, so after a brief conversation on the phone have found a lovely lady called Rachael Campbell who I can contact prior to my visit. Similarly with the Natural History Museum although I have Ailisa Barry as the Head of Interactive Media, I spoke to Lucy in her department who has given me the name of Sheila Sang, who I will email/contact  prior to visit as she deals more with AR than Lucy… Interestingly the chap who was looking after their AR has just left them…

So, next steps are to email my new found best friends at the Museum and organise the right date when I can visit and meet with (hopefully) both of them in the one day.

At least my chosen Museums are quite close!




AR in Museums

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I have three aspects to research in my self-negotiated project, one of them being investigating AR in Museums currently. This article by Shelley Mannion, Digital Learning Programmes Manager, The British Museum, entitled British Museum – Augmented Reality: Beyond the Hype is a great short piece that references other front runners testing and looking into AR in their museums.

Among the forerunners are the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam which used AR to install artworks in a local park (ARTours), and the San Francisco Exploratorium which turned an evening event into a surreal AR playground (Get Surreal). In 2011, the British Museum’s digital learning team embarked on a plan to explore AR’s potential in museum education. We ran a series of experimental projects that allowed us to push the boundaries of the technology and evaluate its benefits in learning programmes. Our experience confirmed that AR – although technically still immature – has both the unique ability to engage visitors and quantifiable learning outcomes. It is a useful tool in our arsenal of interpretive tools and techniques. (quoted from )

What I find interesting is that The British Museum has been testing their app called ‘passport to the afterlife’ since 2011, it is a trigger related trail with markers which will display 3D objects, and the museum itself provides the device for the visitors to use, so no-one is discriminated against for not having the right phone.

I think this is great, just what I want to see in our modern world, the ancient and long gone being brought to life, real time in our own hands with the aid of technology.

We can learn at our own pace, combining tech and tradition, I still want to go and see those dug up objects and an artists view of what it once was like, but imagine being able to look around it, zoom in and out and gather more information, relevant to your own needs, on a mobile device.

Bringing creatures back to life. Using animated 3D models to show what an extinct animal or plant would have looked like is another ideal use of AR. Holding your device over a skeleton or fossil to reveal an animated model answers an age-old interpretive challenge. The Natural History Museum in London uses this technique to populate a multimedia theatre with early humans, dinosaurs, fish and other animals in the interactive film Who do you think you really are? This is an expensive bespoke implementation with custom hardware, but these types of applications are increasingly easier and cheaper to realise.  (quoted from )



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I got an email reply back from Roger McKinley (Research and Innovation Manager) at FACT  (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology)

ARtSENSE is their museum augmentation and research project and he’s happy to answer some of my questions, or have a skype chat, they are having an event in June and in April they are publishing something that will be useful. So I just need to think up some good questions to ask…

I would like to know if they have done any research on the way that people interact with new technology pieces that are put into Museums, do they work, do people just not know what to do and how do they go about getting the message clear.

What has worked best? (in ref to above q)

How have they found this out, what tests/research tools/studies did they use

I am interested in the imparting information/learning aspect, ie, does the public get it?

I am very pleased to have made this contact, and hope to go and see FACT up in Liverpool as there is nothing like it here.


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Looking to find AR in practice already and I stumble across an international group project called ARtSENSE who are looking into museum spaces and interactive Augmented Reality in exhibitions etc.

“Aimed at improving and augmenting the gallery and museum visitor experience through wearable technology, ARtSENSE is a European research project, in collaboration with two other cultural organisations and five technical and research organisations, including FACT and Liverpool John Moores University…….. For the museum visitor the result is an enhanced, personalised experience, taking them on an innovative journey through the hidden stories of the artworks and artifacts.”

They have founder members of the MANIFEST.AR involved and a this is a brilliant slideshare presentation talking about the future for augmented reality within museums.

This chap is creating AR art already…

I also contacted Roger McKinley who is the Research and Innovation Manager at FACT just to see if I can garner any help or involvement with it…


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