Now a museum visit can be fun and games
Museloop app helps young gaming generation interact with art exhibits.
The way we experience museums has changed little over the years. We are, on the whole, passive observers, left to our own devices when it comes to interpreting what's in front of us.
That's exactly what happened with Nathalie Half's children, who, as they grew into teenagers, became less enthusiastic about the trips they were taking with their mother to museums in their native Israel.
Seeing this, Half got an idea to create an augmented reality app that would turn the experience of viewing art into an interactive one through the magic of games. She called it Museloop.
"It's something that people talk about a lot [the lack of innovation]. And museums get that. And it's nice that they get this and that they are open to using technology to bridge this gap," Keren Berler, Museloop's CEO, told From The Grapevine.
Berler came on not long after Half embarked on the venture, and the two soon added Dor Zomer as chief technology officer.
The purpose of the app isn't to distract children, Berler said. Quite the opposite, in fact.
"We're using games because it's the ultimate interactive experience," Berler explained. "It really creates engagement, competition and a challenge, and all these games bring focus and attention in a way that enables meaningful learning. You're way more likely to process it and relate to it in this way," Berler said.
So far the app offers six games, including one that allows users to build puzzles of their favorite works of art; and another that generates an image of the artwork in the museum but with slight visual differences that users are then prompted to point out and uncover.
The app is available on both iOS and Android and has been used at several museums in Israel. Berler said the next market Museloop plans to penetrate is New York, where the company is already in discussions with major art institutions to create programs around permanent and visiting exhibitions.
Berler said there has been some concern from parents that the app will mean their kids have their heads buried in their phones the whole time they are at the museum. But she said this complaint misses the point.
"The goal of the games are really to get the visitor to look and observe and notice details in the actual exhibits," she told us. "To get them to look even closer at the art."
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