Following the museum sector’s year of accelerated digital transformation, Smartify, in collaboration with Jing Culture & Commerce, presents a guest series spotlighting strategies that cultural institutions can leverage to expand their outreach and enrich their storytelling. Find more from the series here.
The pandemic has had a profound impact on the museums and heritage sector, with an average 77 percent drop in museum attendance in 2020. In spite of the many challenges, one upside has been the innovation of digital exhibitions and resources to enjoy at home. Many museums have moved away from viewing digital as simply a marketing tool to mimic or promote an on-site experience and instead have created unique experiences.
In this article, we showcase a couple of successful examples of online exhibitions created and shared using the Smartify platform tools. Smartify is a guide to art and culture, used by millions of audiences at home and on-site. Guides were created with simple drag-and-drop tools, and with no need for coding or design from the museum team. Once published, the tours launched both on the Smartify platform and across the museums’ own websites.
Dub London: Bassline of a City at the Museum of London
The Museum of London’s exhibition of dub music and culture opened in October 2020. The exhibition explores the far-reaching impact of dub across the music industry alongside community, fashion and spirituality.
To complement the physical exhibition, which currently remains closed, the Museum of London worked with Smartify to create a guide at home featuring collection items, music, and video interviews.
Wouter van der Horst, Head of Content and Learning at Smartify, ran a workshop for staff exploring how the educational mission could be translated online. Jack Stanley, Marketing Campaigns Manager at the Museum of London, commented of the workshop, “It was a brilliant experience. An excellent format, inspirational case studies, and illuminating insights have really helped the team consider how we shape our content strategy going forward. Even just one two-hour workshop has had a huge impact.”
The Dub London online guide launched in March 2021 and has been watched by over 34,000 audiences across the Smartify desktop player and mobile app. And when the exhibition is finally able to reopen, all content will be accessible to visitors as a guide both as a mobile tour and when scanning and identifying specific collection items.
Ray Harryhausen: Titan of Cinema at the National Galleries of Scotland
Special effects superstar Ray Harryhausen elevated stop motion animation to an art. For the major exhibition of his work, National Galleries of Scotland wanted to create a guide to share unseen archive materials from the vast Harryhausen collection and give audiences a unique augmented reality (AR) experience whether at home or in the museum.
Using the Smartify dashboard, National Galleries of Scotland were able to upload previously unseen archive materials including videos, letters, and sketches that could not fit into the physical exhibition space. They also created an audio tour narrated by film director John Landis. Finally, inspired by the great animator himself, our team worked with Glasgow-based animation agency Playdead to develop an AR skeleton from Clash of the Titans that would swipe and jab at audiences — onsite and in their own home.
The Ray Harryhausen Titan of Cinema online exhibition was a finalist in this year’s MuseWeb GLAMi awards in the hotly contested Interactive and Immersive category.
Even with museums reopening this spring, audiences now expect digital options to be part of the museum experience. Online offerings should remain an important part of your museum’s audience engagement plan since some visitors will always have difficulty accessing the physical museum space due to geographical, financial, or mobility restrictions.
Going digital infinitely expands the reach of the museum experience, but it can also be a daunting task. That’s why Smartify offers a high-tech, low-cost solution to get your collections and programs online easily and quickly. To learn more about how Smartify can help your museum go digital and take advantage of our 90-day free trial, visit our website.