While plenty of innovation happens in museums and galleries, there is also an incredible ecosystem of innovative startups working alongside the cultural sector. These startups are disrupting museums with a myriad of magnificent resources specifically for the museum, from augmented reality to digital tracking.
Below we highlight twelve disruptive tools, services and innovations from startups disrupting museums (be sure to add to our list in the comments below) :
Curio is an online service where museums can create interactive experiences that they can publish to a touchscreen. They key is that you no longer need technical skills, or outside providers, to create your interactives. It’s a simple drag-and-drop process.
Currently accepting requests for private beta testers, ArtformAR offers augmented reality technology for museums. Annotate museum works in virtual reality, add commentary to specific items in your collection that visitors can view via their smartphone, and offer location-tracking capabilities from within your museum. If you want to experience the next level of technology for museums, sign up for early access to ArtformAR.
Artyou Global offers art management services for museums, galleries, curators, and artists. Manage your collections, send and receive data on items in your collection, track the history of each of your pieces, and even transport and insure your works. Artyou Global offers NFC and GPS tracking for pieces in your collection and can help you create brochures for your pieces too.
DeFrame provides a SaaS platform for museums that offers everything from visitor engagement tools to exhibit analytics. Create maps for museum visitors to follow inside your building. Add virtual content to your pieces to increase engagement as guests visit each of your pieces. Understand how visitors are engaging with your museum in order to improve guest satisfaction ratings and fuel the future of your marketing efforts. Engagement management for museums; what an awesome idea, right?
Micro is bringing mini museums to public places like train stations and waiting rooms at hospitals. Initially focusing on science museums, Micro lets museums share a glimpse of their facility in a standalone display that is approximately the size of a typical vending machine. Micro is a non-profit organization that wants to bring the magic of museums to the public in a variety of locations, including airports and public libraries. Check out Micro for yourself to see if their concept can help your museum garner more attention.
The Automatic Museum Guide is a revolutionary technology for museums that empowers curators to create fully immersive multimedia experiences and engage visitors through navigation, guidance and narration. The app allows visitors to explore exhibits, with audio and other content being triggered automatically as they move through the museum.
Panorama offers a selfie solution to museums and tourist attractions wanting to offer panoramic selfie images to their visitors. Install Panorama at your museum and let visitors take individual or group photos in a panoramic shot that features a wide-shot view of your facility. Set up Panorama at the entrance to your museum or inside your building near your most popular attraction. Panoramic images + social media sharing = massive marketing opportunity for visitor-hungry museums.
Musar combines interactive augmented content with audio guides for museums. Available for both iOS and Android smartphones, the Musar mobile app lets museums offer additional information about their exhibits. Share holograms, videos, 3D images, and audio snippets with museum visitors. You can even send push notifications to visitors when they are outside your facility. Musar offers guest analytics too, so museum leaders can better manage their collections and marketing efforts.
WUNDER is creating the first ever blockchain-based, distributed museum focused on the dissemination and sustainability of digital art. WUNDER strives to make digital art as globally accessible as possible, while simultaneously giving artists the opportunity to maximize their creative potential within this exciting contemporary medium.
There is no question about it: museums and public attractions are being redefined in the digital age. Shouldn’t membership evolve as well? Digital membership cards embrace convenience. Members no longer have to keep track of physical cards, which are easy to lose and just take up space. Visitors now have access to their favorite organizations, right in the palm of their hand. The digital membership card allows them to effortlessly make the most of their membership, realizing the full benefits including reciprocal institutional relationships, upcoming exhibition information, and even event notifications.
Using ultra-HD gigapixel images Second Canvas makes even the smallest details of a brushstroke are visible in highest quality. Zoom in beyond the naked eye, up to the brushstroke level, and see the crackle, thanks to incredibly high resolution images.
Cards for Culture
While many of the examples of Startups Disrupting Museums above are tech led, our final innovator couldn’t be simpler. Cards for Culture is a game and toolkit, consisting of a box of three decks of cards that help you to develop and strengthen your institutional strategy across a wide range of topics. These versatile and user-friendly cards stimulate your creativity, inspire innovation and guide transformation processes.
Curated x Kai
Kai Frazier founded Curated x Kai in 2017. The website provides access to a series of virtual field trips. These fully immersive VR experiences cover many different places and topics. The videos are designed to be used in a classroom setting to empower students who might otherwise not visit museums. Read a full profile of Curated x Kia here.
There are many museums working to become autism friendly. But one Chicago company is trying to change the way things are done. Infiniteach have been developing innovative technology to help people with autism. Their work has already helped many museums to cater to this audience, including Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum. Read more about Infiniteach here.
Entrepreneurs and start-ups are creating a host of tools museums can use to increase engagement and boost visitor numbers. Have you tried the tools, services and innovations above? Which disruptive museum startups would you add to the list?
About the author – Jim Richardson
Jim Richardson is the founder of MuseumNext. Having run a creative agency focused on the cultural sector for sixteen years, he now splits his time between running MuseumNext and consulting with cultural and tech organisations around the world.