Museums are a critical element of preserving our cultural heritage. The huge development of technology can aid museums remain a dynamic part of the society. They have to entertain people, while preserving the natural historical and cultural experiences. It is difficult to keep the balance, but museums seem to do well. For example, audio guides are well known for their offering in interpretations of artworks and exhibits and also there are QR codes and mobile apps for enriching the experience. In the latest years, another new technology has risen to contribute to cultural heritage preservation in the museums and that technology is called “Augmented Reality” or AR.
Museums have now been experimenting with augmented reality technology for a number of years and are using this technology in many ways. Some use this technology in order to represent outdoor spaces through historical images (by pointing the camera of the device to an outdoor space, where an important historical event happened in the past, the images of this event are shown through AR). Some others use this technology in the domain of art, in order to re-create an original painting so that the visitors of the museum will be able to view that painting in the way that it was when it was created. Finally, one of the most common target audiences for augmented reality applications are kids and younger students, so that means that the historical information must be presented in a fun and exciting way through AR, so that even the younger audience will be amazed and find visiting museums a fun and interesting activity.
Augmented Reality is an innovative technology and has a lot to offer to museums. Unfortunately, the cost of developing specific apps and digital educational content can be a significant barrier to many small and mid-sized museums and cultural institutions. To overcome this barrier, the museums have to organize collaborations with nearby universities or research institutes, so that they will have easier access to these technologies.