VR / AR / MR Implementations in Museums

Museums are increasingly using AR, VR and MR in the communication with their vistors. This article compiles projects from various types of museums. Of course the list can only be a small selection of the increasing number of AR, VR and MR projects museums use in the fields of communication, mediation and education (we are not referring to new media or immersive art).

  • AR / augmented reality >> „an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (such as a smartphone camera). Also: the technology used to create augmented reality.“ (Merriam Webster)
  • VR / virtual reality >> „an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (such as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment. Also: the technology used to create or access a virtual reality.“ (Merriam Webster)
  • MR / mixed reality >> „Mixed reality is a blend of physical and virtual worlds that includes both real and computer-generated objects. The two worlds are „mixed“ together to create a realistic environment. A user can navigate this environment and interact with both real and virtual objects.Mixed reality (MR) combines aspects of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). It sometimes called „enhanced“ AR since it is similar to AR technology, but provides more physical interaction.“ (Tech Terms)

Ars Electronica, Linz, VR LAB, 2017-2019, exhibition on AR / VR

Belvedere, Wien, Egon Schiele. The Making Of A Collection, App, 2018/2019
A selection of Schiele’s artwork can be experienced in augmented reality with the Artivive App.

British Museum, London, British Museum’s virtual reality tours, VR

Cleveland Museum, Art Lens, AR App & Wall, 2013
Station uses augmented reality and kinect natural motion technology.

CoSA – Center of Science Activities, Graz, A(R)dventure, AR, 2019
Visitors can choose between three rooms, each of which will take them to a different adventure. In all three spaces, they move between the real and the virtual world and work with the AR robot H.I.G.G.S. to solve tricky tasks and learn bit by bit about the causes and effects of climate change.

Gemäldegalerie Berlin, AR-App (Prototyp)
App resconstructs tryptich from the 16th century and allows visitors to see underlying layers.

Getty Museum, L.A., Augsburg Cabinet, AR, 2010
Augmented Reality Allows Unprecedented Viewer Interaction with One of the Most Complex Works in the Museums Collection.

Houston Museum of Natural Science, Jurrasic Flight, VR, 2018
Visitors fly back in time and explore prehistoric world with the virtual reality experience.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Musem, Boston, Hacking the Heist, AR, 2018
Using augmented reality the stolen art returns back to its rightful home.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, Defying Gravity, MR, 2018
Visitors can come face to face with a hologram of Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space.

Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Welcome to Jerusalem, VR Video, 2017/2018
Dani Levy realized four short 360°/VR vidoes in Jerusalem for the exhibition “Welcome to Jerusalem”.

Keltenmuseum / Museum of Celtic Heritage, Salzburg, The Speaking Celt, AR, 2016
Two Celtic avatarsguide the visitors through the museum and explain the artefacts inside the display cases. One Celtic warrior „stands“ in front of the museum as a guard.

Kennedy Space Centre, Merritt Island, Buzz Aldrin Gives HoloLens Tour of Mars, MR

Kremer Museum, VR Museum
Virtual museum that shows 70 17th Century Dutch and Flemish old masters. The collection is only accessibly hrough VR and does not exist as a physical collection.

Kyoto National Museum, personal tour from a Zen Monk through Zen temple, MR, 2018
The 10-minute experience provides a dynamic, holographic narrative to better understand The Folding Screen of Funin and Raijin. A holographic Kennin-ji monk guides through the experience as contextual descriptions populate the dedicated temple room.

Louvre, Paris, HTC Vive Arts, Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass, VR, 2019/2020
The first VR experience by the Louvre is on display in retrospective exhibition, Leonardo da Vinci. An extended versionis available for download through VIVEPORT and other online platforms.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y. City, The Met 360° Project, 360° Videos, 2017
Award-winning series of six short videos invites viewers around the world to virtually visit The Met’s art and architecture in a fresh, immersive way.

Mumok, Wien, mumokAR, MR, 2019
A mixed reality app that lets users experience and interact with the transformation of the main museum building. During this process, the building transforms in a gigantic urban stage and several sequences playfully reveal museum-related content and information regarding existing and upcoming exhibitions.

Musee des Plans-Reliefs / Museum of History and Industry, Seattle, Mont-Saint-Michel, MR, 2019
A Mont-Saint-Michel relief map—a 17th century icon of French innovation, history, and culture—comes to life as an immersive mixed reality experience.

Museo multimediale dell’900, Mestre, Permanent Exhibition, VR & interactive stations, 2018
Multimedia experience to visit the past, understand the present and conjure up the future.

Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris, The Water Lily Obsession, VR, 2019
Claude Monet: The Water Lily Obsession takes the public to the locations where this work was produced, and immerses you in the process of painting this unique piece.

Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, Giraffatitan, VR-App, 2016

National Gallery of Prague, Touching Masterpieces, VR
Making visual art finally inclusive for the blind and visually impaired people. The human somatic sensory system has pressure receptors that help us feel when something comes into contact with the skin — with the NeuroDigital VR haptic gloves, built with vibrotactile actuators, vibrations are sent to activate these receptors each time when the person touches a 3D object in virtual space.

National Museum of Finland, VR into R. W. Ekman’s painting ‘The Opening of he Diet 1863 by Alexander II’. The Opening of the Diet 1863 by Alexander II, VR, 2018

National Museum of Natural History, Paris, Cabinet of Virtual Reality, VR, 2018

NHM Wien, Salzbergwerk Hallstatt, VR, 2019

ONB – Österreichische Nationalbibilothek, Wien, Augmented Reality in the State Hall, AR, 2019
Three perky virtual bookworms experience an adventure in the world-famous library hall, and museum visitors are right in the middle of the action thanks to the latest in technology.

Peterson Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, VR experience, 2017
Visitors were able to interact with a classic American sports car, the Ford GT40.

Smithsonian / Museum of Natural History, Skin and Bones, AR, 2015
13 different skeletons on display in the “Bone Hall” come to life through the advanced technologies of 3-D augmented reality and 3-D tracking. The app adds details to many of the specimens to show how they move or look in life or how their skeletons work.

Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, VR component alongside a new exhibition. No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, VR 2019

Senckenberg Museum Frankfurt, Jurameer, VR, 2018

Städel Museum, Frankfurt a.M., Städel Museum im 19. Jahrhundert, VR App, 2016

Tate Modern, London, The Making of Modigliani: The Ochre Atelier, VR, 2017/2018
The Ochre Atelier reimagines Modigliani’s final Parisian studio, where he lived and worked in the final months of his life in 1919 and 1920. A previously undocumented space, the artist’s studio has been brought back to life through more than 60 objects, artworks and materials.

Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal / GER, Triadisches Ballett, VR, 2019/2020
Visitors dive into Oskar Schlemmers art work.


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