How Technology Is Transforming Museums and Meetings

Photo credit: The Bullock Texas State Museum of Art

Emerging technology is turning museums into stars. Many are incorporating innovative and interactive media in exhibit spaces to enhance the visitor experience. And it just so happens that some venues offer masterpiece meeting spaces as well.

Following is a collection of places that have mastered the art and science of the meeting.

Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA

Have you ever wondered what diving into gushing blue waters with mammoth whales would be like? Or what it feels like to breeze past the bubbling sun? The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia makes these experiences possible by offering virtual reality (VR) designated spaces.

At this museum, visitors use VR goggles to interact with exhibits and view 360-degree photos and video supplements, as well as immersive “worlds.”

The 15 meeting venues in the building also embrace the colorful spirit of technology. If a high-voltage cocktail party is on the agenda, try the Electricity Room. Attendees can light up the floor just by moving around—a stimulating incentive for networking. Or have Ben Franklin look down upon your VIP event in the Ben Franklin Memorial hall. A 20-foot statue is erected in the founding father’s honor.

Many hotels in the area are less than a 15 minute walk away.

Cleveland Museum of Art

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The bemoaned proverb “Don’t Touch the Art,” has taken the backseat. In this museum, art is available at your fingertips.

Cleveland Art Museum features a 40-foot touchscreen ArtLens Wall. Patrons can browse a collection of more than 4,000 artworks grouped by time period, materials used and technique. It rotates images every 40 seconds to keep things fresh. Visitors can zoom in for more information, or “favorite” artworks on the curated app and build a personalized tour through the museum.

In the ArtLens studio, it gets even more interactive with virtual painting and pottery making. Specialized stations further explore the gallery’s collection. For example, the Reveal station uses motion-senor technology to enhance an image from blurry to crystal clear. Visitors use sweeping motions to enhance the overall composition, and miniscule movements for the finer details.

The Ames Family Atrium in the museum strategically uses a three-story, glass-enclosed space to create a welcoming air for an event. The grand venue also connects to an outside terrace for the warmer months.

Detroit Institute of Arts

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This museum adds another layer to the world—or unravels it in the case of applying augmented reality (AR) tools to a mummy’s skeleton. Lumin, a mobile smartphone tour, uses 3D mapping and AR to bring exhibits to life using overlays, videos, photographs, sounds and touch-activated animations that provide in-depth information about an artwork.

For example, using the device at the Ishtar Gate exhibit can replicate a walk through the gates of Babylon. The technology additionally invites visitors to play games or solve puzzles at different stops for deeper engagement.

The museum’s 12 event spaces also feature artful and historic decorations. Your next meeting could be in an interactive exhibit.

Bullock Texas State Museum of Art

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Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the museum experience. Bullock aims to tell the whole story of Texas and its many characters.

From June to December, the museum theater will screen “Shipwrecked.” It’s a rocky story told through Pierre Talon, a real-life passenger aboard French explorer La Salle’s 1684 North American colonial expedition. The multi-sensory film that will introduce rain, lightning and “other fun surprises,” to the viewing experience.

Flexible meeting space totals more than 67,000 sq. ft., including an exhibit that can simultaneously double as a venue. Bullock’s two theaters can also be rented out.

Renwick Gallery, Washington D.C.

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If you can’t go to the art, the art will come to you! Wonder 360 is a specially curated app that allows users to view the Wonder exhibition at the Renwick in 3D panoramic views. It also includes video interviews with the artists and curator.

The experience can be best enjoyed with a VR viewer, such as Google Cardboard—a device that costs as little as $8.

So, go ahead and transport the sculptures to your event in Renwick’s 4,000 sq. ft. of gold-accented event space. Or, just a few minutes down the road is the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM). One great find in SAAM is The Luce Foundation Center venue that overlooks a sculpture gallery and showcases more than 3,000 artworks.