From Pokemon GO to Snapchat, augmented reality is a widely successful platform to engage app users in fun and interactive ways. Many AR apps are being used in museums to make their exhibits accessible to any visitor. There is a myriad of effective ways to engage visitors through existing AR apps.


1. Translation

For museums with a large international audience, offering content in several languages can be a challenge. Descriptions can only fit so many languages in without taking up too much exhibit space! Many tourists use the Google Translate app to guide them through museums. With the Google Translate app, visitors can scan a description in another language to see a split screen of the original language and their native language.

An issue with Google Translate is that it may not offer precise translations of the content, which can leave guests confused. This problem can be solved by having an AR tour available for guests with more precise translations.


2. Interactive games for Kids with Autism

Many museums offer early bird starts to allow kids with autism to visit without being overwhelmed by large, noisy crowds. The Natural History Museum and Science Museum in London offer Early Bird starts for kids.

AR can help kids with autism interact with museum exhibits even on busy days. One mother wrote about her experience visiting the Cutty Sark here:


3. British Sign Language Guided Tours

Heritage Ability is an organisation that specializes in making heritage sites and museums accessible to everyone. Among other projects, they offer several British Sign Language tours to heritage sites around the UK. However, it can be tough to organise a day out that suits everyone and planning for a specific date restricts guests’ freedom to choose when to visit.

Heritage Ability has partnered with Gamar to offer a BSL guided tour to visitors at the Killerton House in Exeter. The trail allows anyone to see a guided BSL tour of the Killerton House on their mobile device.


4. Enlarging Text and Audio Tours

Some museum guests may have trouble reading the small text of descriptions next to an exhibit. If guests are able to use their own phones as a tour guide, they can see more succinct and clear versions of the descriptions. Guests can also enlarge the text on their phone in order to read descriptions and facts relevant to an exhibit.

Another option is the ability to add audio clips or an audio guide to a museum tour. Audio clips can replace written text or act as a tour guide for an exhibit. Think of it as a personal docent!


5. Augmented Reality tours for the mobility impaired

Mobile accessibility is crucial for museums. However, there can still be challenges for some guests even after accommodations are made. For some visitors, it may be more enjoyable to view a 3D virtual environment of the museum. Other guests may want to access information for the whole museum from a specific point.

With guided trails, guests can preview areas of the museum that they may not be able to visit and still receive the full experience.

Virtual tours can also offer guests the museum experience from the comfort of their home. Offering virtual tours can offer more people the ability to experience an exhibit that may be limited by travel expenses.