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VR and AR Go to the Museum

Museums are employing augmented reality and virtual reality to enhance the visitor experience and make exhibititions more engaging. Institutions of all sizes are looking to new tech to create more engaging and educational experiences for visitors, from apps and chatbots to touchscreen interactives and digital experiences. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are coming into their own as versatile ways to bring museum collections to life.

An immersive computer-generated experence, VR can virtually transport a visitor into another place and time. AR uses computer-generated elements (video, images, etc.) to augment or bring context to an object or place in the physical world. Both technologies can bring museum objects to life.

Let's take a look at a few innovative VR and AR solutions in the wild:

National Gallery of Prague
VR can be used to transport museum visitors into "another place" visually. But what if a visitor cannot see? The National Gallery of Prague launched “Touching Masterpieces,” a campaign that actually lets visitors "touch" work like Michelangelo’s David, Venus de Milo, and the bust of Nefertiti using haptic Avatar VR gloves.

Detroit Institute of Arts
The Detroit Institute of Arts' "Lumin" uses Google’s Tango technology to provide visitors with new, in-depth ways to engage with objects in the collection. The DIA is the first art museum in the world to integrate this 3-D mapping and smartphone augmented reality (AR) technology into a public mobile tour.

Carnegie Museum of Art
"Plaster ReCast" is an augmented reality app designed in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center that helps visitors better engage with the CMOA’s huge architectural plaster cast collection. The app allows visitors to see 3D renderings of the plaster casts up close and view models of the original building to which it belonged.

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