Take your traditional museum visitor experience, introduce advanced technology (like a digital pen that allows you to save and “collect” the works of art you most enjoy, or a cutting-edge mobile app and tour guide), and you’ve just upgraded to an interactive, 21st-century museum experience.
Over the past few years, many museums and cultural institutions are doing exactly that: increasingly leaning on mobile and digital projects to reinvent the visitor experience. Some of these major changes have been partially fueled by the desire to engage the millennial audience, who, according to an Invaluable survey conducted earlier this year, are more often discovering art digitally.
One way institutions have been strengthening their connection to visitors is through the introduction of engaging mobile apps. The growing demand for non-traditional art experiences has led to the emergence of a large number of independent apps that allow for deeper engagement with works of art. Apps can assist in way-finding, guiding, and education for visitors. SFMoMA, for one, recently unveiled an app that supports indoor and outdoor location-aware touring, map-based navigation, and a shareable visual log of the user’s visit. The Met’s app, a 2015 Webby Award Honoree, offers an interactive museum map, recommendations on what to see, exhibition listings, and the ability to save your favorite art, events, and exhibits.
Enter Cuseum, a tech company that assists museums with these types of digital objectives. The Boston-based startup partners with museums to power mobile apps that enhance the visitor’s experience. Visitors can easily access content through a variety of ways, including curated tours and highlighted notifications based on their location. Their platform provides institutions with cost-effective tools for mobile, content management, iBeacon support, indoor way-finding, and social engagement. The primary goal of Cuseum is to help cultural institutions better engage their visitors using digital solutions.
“In the museum space, education and visitor engagement are always extremely high priorities,” says Ciecko, who started his first company to develop online experience for the music and entertainment industry when he was 13 years old.
“There is a growing interest in using these different digital avenues to drive and improve engagement, education, and context between the visitor and the objects they might experience at the museum.”
So what’s next? For Ciecko, the future may include adapting Cuseum’s technology to “art fairs, biennials, galleries, cultural districts, all kinds of public attractions related to arts, history, corporate art collections. There’s so many different avenues we could take.”