Museum Audio: From Narrating Stories to Creating Emotional Experiences
Modern visitors – apart from learning – search for pleasure, entertainment, and enjoyment while at a heritage site or museum. Thus, museums have begun to re-shape as institutions concerned now with sensorial experience rather than purely visual apprehension [Source]
Working on incorporating technology in your cultural institution?
Here is all the info and inspiration you’ll need so you feel confident to utilize museum voice-over audio to improve the visitor experience.
In this article:
Engagement and authenticity make the difference
Apart from being a museum curator, you are also asked to be a content curator. You are expected to find innovative ways to use the institution’s resources and tell a story in a fun, visitor-friendly manner. And especially nowadays when everything is already on the internet is twice as hard. Audio and virtual opportunities enhance the experience allows the museum to be more interactive and fun for the visitors. Some ways you can implement audio can be:
- Audio guide
- Dramatized Storytelling
- Virtual Tours
New dynamics in storytelling and content creation.
Offering alternative ways for museums to interact with their visitors
It is expected and ensures an updated experience
Recent studies have revealed museum professionals’ insights on the introduction of new technologies: “The expectation today of people and technology is high. A lot of people try and interact with screens that are not interactive. I do not think this is always because people want to know more about what they are watching but rather they are used to interacting. I think it’s important to be up-to-date with emerging technologies to remain relevant in the public eye but also do this in a respectful way, not to diminish the reason the technology is there [that is] the content”. [Source]
Our professional advice would be to always follow the trends. It reduces experience quality when visitors feel disappointed or that the museum does not meet their expectations.
Democratizes Art and Ensures Accessibility
Isn’t it wonderful that a child from China can visit the Louvre Museum anytime? Or that a recent architecture graduate can indulge in arabesque art at Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art? Having some years of experience working for Google Art and Culture platform, we can identify with all the efforts towards “accessibility for all” and democratization of art”. Offering audio experiences to visually impaired visitors, for example, can assure that emotional experience and engagement that is comparable in quality to that of sighted visitors are offered to them as well. Such efforts can add up to a general feeling of inclusion both physically and digitally.
Motivates and Engages with Visitors
Apart from offering the expected, offering up-to-date material can make displays and information be understood faster, easier, and much more fun. Apart from that, throughout the pandemic, culture lovers have been experimenting with new ways to engage with museums. As a result of these new needs created by the pandemic, curation and display had also had to be adapted. Organizations were forced to adapt to and include the latest technological trends into their strategy turning their exhibitions into cutting edge cultural experiences offered even “exclusively on website” resulting in increasing conversion to onsite visits and ticket sales. Visitors feel fascinated and engaged with the museum in a fresh, interactive way!
Supports smooth operations
Having audio guides, dramatized storytelling or virtual tours helps a museum’s operations. It ensures both a quality on-brand experience but also the smooth flow of visitors through the museum. Who wants busy swarms blocking the displays or the “crown jewel” of an exhibition to be left unnoticed? Services as such can facilitate operations taking loads of work from museum curators, guides, and security guards.
Case Studies and What They Show Us
So far, so good. But how do some of the most renowned institutions utilize new technologies? This part will help you get all the ideas you need, presenting some inspirational projects from big and small museums around the world.
The Titanic Experience is one of the world’s most authentic retelling of the iconic story. The self-guided tour extends over nine interactive galleries where you discover the sights, sounds, smells, and stories of the ship, as well as the people and city that made her. The secret of success, in that case, is definitely “emotion”.
“Some of my family members were crying, but I was wondering why they cried”
Research conducted on this institution described that one of the studies observed other visitors responding to exhibits with emotions which she herself did not experience. After her first visit to Titanic Belfast, referring to the part of the exhibition that presents the sinking of the ship, she said: “Some of my family members were crying, but I was wondering why they cried”.This comment hits the nail right on the head. It is not just about access; it is having access to the same quality of experience as enjoyed by those people for whom access legislation is not necessary. [Source]
The British Museum (Gamification / Audio Experience)
“I have been to the museum several times and there is always something surprising to see […] Recommend the audio guide to ensure you get the highlights.” – Visitor’s Review on TripAdvisor
“The expectation today of people and technology is high. A lot of people try and interact with screens that are not interactive. I do not think this is always because people want to know more about what they are watching but rather they are used to interacting. I think it’s important to be up-to-date with emerging technologies to remain relevant in the public eye but also do this in a respectful way, not to diminish the reason the technology is there [that is] the content”. [Source]
‘Driven by an insatiable curiosity for the world’ as stated on its website, The British Museum is one of the most celebrated institutions complete with an extensive archive spanning art, history, and culture. Many of the museum’s collections are now available to view online, including Oceania (art and artifacts from the Oceania region) and Prints and Drawings galleries, whilst you can experience virtual reality tours via Google Arts & Culture.”
Tate Modern (Video Narration)
Museumgoers did not have to wait for Tate to reopen to appreciate the “Andy Warhol” exhibition. The London institution released a collection of online resources related to the show. From a seven-minute video tour led by two Tate curators to a lengthy exhibition guide and a podcast titled “The Art of Persona,” democratized the exhibition allowing art lovers to fully explore it from the comfort of their home.
Christiansborg Palace Denmark (Audio Guide)
Visitors only need a set of headphones and their smartphone to discover The Royal Reception Rooms and the Queen’s Tapestries using the app Useeum. This on-sight service upgrades the experience making it live up to – or even exceeding – visitors’ expectations.
Google’s Art and Culture Platform
The web – as well as the very recent lockdown – have completely changed the way we approach artworks. That resulted in more and more museums are joining Google Art and Culture. Having the honor to work for this platform we experienced and appreciated that shift. Artworks from simply objects of contemplation have turned into time capsules that museum visitors can interact with them and holistically experience. Artworks have become alive and interactive.
No matter where you are and no matter the time, you can experience art. Art and culture have ceased to be a luxury. It’s out there and for all.
Are you a curator working on democratizing your next project?
Audio services can help you upgrade and engage. And if it’s all new to you, no worries. Our voice-over professionals can help you with personalized advice and guidance along the way.
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