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How museums are using immersive digital experiences

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It is common knowledge that many art galleries and museums are finding it tough to market to younger, digitally-oriented generations.

Although millennials ‘enjoy museums’, they have also ‘expressed concern that the content and mission of many museums may not be in sync with millennials’ interest and values’, according to millennialmarketing.com.

A report by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), revealed DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries saw an overall 0.8% decline in visitor numbers in 2016/17 compared to 2015/16. Many major institutions within this group contributed to this decline, including the National Portrait Gallery (down 11%), the National History Museum (down 14%) and the V&A (down 12%), amongst others.

As a frequent visitor of art galleries in central London, I am often surprised by the lack of interactive digital content to aid learning, exploration and navigation. It is common to find an occasional static touchscreen in a corner, which will contain pages of dry information about certain paintings and collections, perhaps accompanied by a couple of images. This is hardly inspiring, particularly in the eyes of individuals who belong to the millennial and Z generations, for whom technology has become the very centre of their daily lives.

It is obvious that managers and curators need to take seriously the interest and retention of these generations so as to secure a bright future for their organisations. Incorporating digital technology within the physical gallery space is one such way to do this, providing more interactive and engaging platforms from which visitors of all ages can learn.

Whilst it appears that most galleries have a lot to catch up on in this regard, a handful stand out as pioneers of integrating traditional art forms with modern digital culture. – Read

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