Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design
You may have heard buzzwords like “Metaverse” and “Web3” but what does the future of digital experiences mean for museums and galleries?
The Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design in Hawaii have an interesting interpretation and approach to the Metaverse. Instead of imagining how they can create a physical gallery space online, they are looking at how they can increase the museum’s digital footprint.
As Konrad Ng, Kristin Remington and Giovonni Parks of the Shangri La Museum explained at the MuseumNext Digital Summit, their approach offers a digital solution to the museum’s physical limitations.
How does the Metaverse approach help museums
The Metaverse and all other kinds of digital projects are undertaken without any expectations. The expectation is not that they will be adopted in the long-term or achieve widespread success. A Metaverse approach is about experimentation. This allows greater agility and the ability to abandon projects when they no longer give results. Metaverse projects are designed to be time-limited, and restarting regularly is part of the process.
Digital native content
The first pillar of the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design’s strategy is to create digital native content. This means they are looking at how they can engage audiences on each digital platform instead of simply finding ways to digitise their collection.
For example, TikTok is a short-form video content platform that rewards humour and whimsy. The Shangri La have used editing skills to gamify how they talk about art and the museum in order to appeal to audiences. Twitter is a platform for conversation and debate, so it is more suited to discussing art and the work the museum is doing.
By creating content that fits with the spirit and overall use of each platform, the content performs better, and the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design can expand its reach.
The Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design is taking an open-source model approach to its learning. It seeks to engage a global audience and, where possible, they want to involve the audience in projects.
A great example of this is their collaboration with university students studying Islamic Art. They partner with universities and ask students to find an under-edited Wikipedia article on Islamic art, research the topic, and update the entry. The entries are all published at once and the students share their experience on Twitter.
In addition to improving the accessibility of accurate information about Islamic art and allowing students to impact the understanding of Islamic art, they curate a discussion about Islamic art on Twitter.
This is not just a customer generation strategy. To the Shangri La Museum the Metaverse is an opportunity to learn the language of their audience. They are joining their audience’s conversation and involving them in the success of the museum.
The Shangri La’s Metaverse strategy is all about looking to the future and embracing uncertainty and experimentation. Being open-source and participating in the conversations its audience is having a positive effect in many other areas of the museum. They are beginning to rethink museum concepts within a digital framework and vice versa. By conversing in the native language of digital platforms, they are beginning to think about how to present Islamic art in a more engaging way.
Konrad Ng, Kristin Remington and Giovonni Parks of the Shangri La Museum spoke at the MuseumNext Digital Summit in June 2022. To find out more about this event and how you can watch the talks on-demand click here.