Millennials! We grew up with every technology of the 20th century and were the first to try our hand with its new update. We have simply been there and done that but stay hungry for more. Our generation is spoilt rotten by a bottomless well of information through a web of media. The flip side of this vast pool of information – nothing seems to please us too soon or for long. We are intrigued by experiences and engagement that is shareable on social channels. If we cannot share our discoveries and experiences on social media, don’t bother reaching out to us.
This April I stumbled upon a report on AdWeek about how Instagram has surpassed museums as the preferred channel to enjoy art. The report by Invaluable that was published in April does mention that nearly 23 percent of Americans find appealing artwork on Instagram and Pinterest as compared to 20 percent who visit museums. So I promptly asked Google Now to give me information on museums for millennials and soon I found myself consuming numbers, data and new technologies. I wondered why all of a sudden alarms are being raised on millennials choosing another medium to view art. Turns out as AdWeek puts it, Americans invest $ 150 billion in art each year but that’s not all the cause for concern as more millennials are purchasing art on apps like Artsy and Invaluable. It translates to reducing footfalls in museums and even lesser buyers at galleries and physical auction events. To put things in perspective, Sotheby’s had preempted a digital wave to wash over its shores around the millennium, when it introduced online auctions. So this was bound to happen as Robert Klara from AdWeek mentions in his column. But it’s not just about visiting or purchasing, museums are non-profit institutions who are always in need of funds from philanthropists. Currently, that spot is occupied by baby boomers but for how long? Millennials have begun to enter their 30s and soon will be poised to raise funds for their own charities. But as per New York Times, (and I concur with the article) our generation would rather eradicate malnutrition or save a glacier from melting than pay for a section at the Guggenheim.
I thought about researching on some of the world’s famous museums to understand if they are keeping up with the times to woo this finicky and fickle generation. Clearly, some museums have received the message loud and clear and have taken measures to combat this problem. Musee du Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMa, British Museum and Tate Modern are all quite prepared to bring their museums in the palms of art loving kids around the world. As I recall back in 2011 Google Art Project had just launched and I had hopped on the wagon for a good view of the world’s best exhibits. This was 5 years back when both Pinterest and Instagram were nascent but not unheard of. Let me take you through some of the digital enhancements the world’s most visited museums have to lure a younger audience. Most of the digital support towards the museums comes from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The MET has its own app which lets you plan your visit to the museum, shows the current events and exhibits as well as pin the events you have attended on the map. You can become a MET member and get updates from the upcoming art events, displays as well as schedule your visit to an event on the calendar. There are voice-over and zooming features included in the app. Then there is a separate MET kids web section on the website which comprises of an interactive map of exhibits at the museum. Upon clicking an artifact the map displays the image of the exhibit with information and allows kids to discover more than meets the eye. There is a time machine section with a list of time period and regions and the historic findings and archives for that period. http://www.metmuseum.org
Museum of Modern Art has three apps and a book for iPad. The carry with you iPhone app lets you research the museum and plan your visit, hear from a wide range of artists, curators, and others about works in the collection and many special exhibitions. You can create your own collection by tagging a favourite image or exhibit and even snap your experience and share it. There are audios and videos that can be shared on social media too. Then there is a ‘make your own art’ app to let you express your artistic side. Create and share your artwork with your network on social media.
In collaboration with the Google Art Project you can virtually tour the British Museum online and view its collection on the Google app. The Museum of the World is an interactive experience, featuring some of the most fascinating objects in human history. There is a separate section for online collection on the museum’s website that you could view and research to plan your visit to the museum. You could also view videos and audios on the museum’s youtube and SoundCloud channel. http://www.britishmuseum.org/
Tate Museum has an iPhone app for both Tate Britain and Tate Modern visitors. The features include tour planning, tour information, audios, map and navigation. The iBeacons lets the app point out your location in the museum and gives you information about the room you are located. The iBeacons are a form of Bluetooth technology which upon downloading the app can track the users within a few feet distance in the museum. So if you are standing near or opposite a particular artist or artwork the app give sends a feed of information about the work and artists through audio guides. You can even search the nearest spot to grab a cup of coffee or take a lunch break. Tate also has an online collection which you can view on the app or website before or after your visit to the museum and enjoy the works at your leisure. http://www.tate.org.uk/
Musee du Louvre
Musee du Louvre has an official app for both iOS and Android platform and has over 100 masterpieces and 500 images rolled into a single app. You can learn about the history of the Palace and its layout via a map. All the wings and their respective sections to prepare you for the visit along with information on visiting hours and fees. There are Greek sculptures, paintings by Holbein, Rafael and Titian in high definition which can be zoomed for better viewing. You can even share the works with your friends to invite them with you to the museum and on facebook to share about your experience at Louvre. The iPad app has some Egyptian artifacts and Greek mythology, Invention of writing, French Romanticism to be viewed in high definition. There is a special app for audio guides once you are at the museum or if you wish to learn or revisit the sections after your visit. There is an online collection to view on the website as well. Besides this you also get updates about the next and upcoming events so you can plan another visit at your convenient time. Louvre is not a museum you could completely survey in a single visit and its best to plan your visit again when in Paris. Louvre has been on a campaign to make the experience more user friendly and attract a younger audience not just to click instagram worthy photographs by the pyramid but to appreciate the palace and its exhibits. There are many cafes inside the wings of the Louvre that you could search on the map and pause for a break at Cafe Mollien or Marly before resuming your visit. Https://louvre.fr/en