Over the course of the past few years, the Cleveland Museum of Art has become a frontrunner in the movement to integrate interactive technology into museums and cultural institutions across the US.Wednesday night, CMA hosted their Gallery One Crash Party, where attendees could test-drive the recently overhauled Studio Play room in Gallery One, the museum’s innovative gallery that blends art, tech, and interpretation. In addition to the new games in Studio Play, CMA announced the launch of their new ArtLens 2.0 app for iPhone and Android.
While still in beta testing, the ArtLens 2.0 app provided a smoother, faster incarnation of the previous version. The app allows visitors to navigate galleries in the museum with indoor wayfinding technology, amongst other features including scanning designated artworks throughout the museum with impressive image-recognition capability. The new app worked practically without issue on my iPhone, but my tech-savvy parents (proud Android aficionados) experienced a few glitches on their devices with the app. Once the kinks are worked out, visitors to CMA will be able to seamlessly experience the museum’s permanent collection in a way that analog wandering just can’t provide. ArtLens is proving itself to be an increasingly important tool that provides a truly exceptional museum experience.
The newly refurbished Studio Playroom in Gallery One brought Next Generation-worthy tech to CMA’s already impressive interactive gallery. While older installments received a facelift, some notable new features that were unveiled included a digital ceramics wheel, where visitors could throw their own creations, and Reveal and Zoom, a large-scale interactive wall where visitors use their bodies as magnifying glasses to explore works in CMA’s permanent collection. It was fun to witness visitors of all ages utilizing the technology in Studio Play and having a blast.
We all, for the most part, have the entire digital encyclopedia of everything and anything there ever was at our beck-and-call all hours of the day through mobile devices. The Cleveland Museum of Art capitalizes on this aspect of 21st-century life and brings what might otherwise still be hidden in the stacks to our very fingertips. It’s increasingly apparent that to remain a viable institution in this rapidly-evolving society; museums need to get with the times. With technology provided in Gallery One and accessible throughout the Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art shows definitively that it is, in the most inspiring manner, ahead of its time. If you’re looking for a culturally-rich weekend trip or short vacation away from the crowded and often commercial museums in NYC, a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art might be just what you’re looking for.