The best museums and art galleries seek to spark interest and curiosity in their visitors, but searching out extra information via smartphones can often ruin the immersive magic of the space — disconnecting viewers from the objects and artworks themselves.
Launching soon, the recently reopened Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York is attempting to rectify this problem by offering its patrons a delayed interactive experience — enabling visitors to digitally ‘collect’ objects that interest them with a high-tech stylus Pen and explore those objects at the end of their visit on ultra high definition touch screen tables.
Cooper Hewitt is housed in Carnegie Mansion in New York City and boasts America’s largest collection of historic and contemporary design objects. During a three year renovation, Cooper Hewitt partnered with Bloomberg Connects to create interactive features which enable visitors to explore more of the museum’s 210,000 object collection.
The Pen is a portable device, which users are given upon entering the museum. As they explore Cooper Hewitt’s three floors they can simply touch the end of the pen on the label of objects that interest them — an NFC tag stores the object’s data in the pen’s memory. When they then touch their Pen on one of the seven Collection Browser screens, the information is transferred, creating a personalized collection for the viewer to explore. They can examine and manipulate the objects, research their designers, materials and processes and even sketch their own designs. After their visit, users can access their collection, including their own creations, on a smartphone or computer via a dedicated web address.
How else could museums manage the digital exploration of their collections?