Creating a Connected and Immersive Art Museum Experience
LaunchPad Lab helped bring art into a different light by developing a cross-platform app that guides visitors through "pathways" to explore The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University.
The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art is a modern teaching museum located on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University. With treasures spanning from sub-Saharan Africa to paintings by Monet and Picasso, the museum serves as an important educational tool for professors, students, and tourists.
Since its founding in 1941, the Museum of Art has expanded significantly and its collection today now represents nearly every art-making culture in the world. With seven galleries and rotating special exhibitions, the Museum has plenty to offer.
Organizing the collections, however, has been a persistent challenge. Although the Museum is generally organized by geography—such as Ancient Art, Asian Art, Contemporary Art, and so on—the museum staff envisioned a world in which students could interact with different subsets of art unrelated to the geographical situation.
They imagined a new digital concept called a “pathway,” where visitors could select a specific pathway of items that strung art together through a different lens or organizing factor, but they needed the right digital product agency to bring their vision to life. They reached out to LaunchPad Lab with the idea of building an app that visitors could easily access when attending the museum—and providing all users with a new and profound way of interacting with the art.
To effectively share this new capability of creating a custom “pathway” at the Museum with visitors, our LaunchPad Lab team recommended a Progressive Web App (PWA) that would be user-friendly, customizable, and responsive.
Instead of a native app, which would require a download and might be a deterrent to some visitors, a PWA was a streamlined option that enables visitors to access the site via QR code or simply by typing in the URL.
Once the overall direction of the app was solidified, we begin working on how to build a digital museum experience that brought pieces of art into a new light.
Contentful is a headless content platform that serves as a multichannel solution for publishing dynamic content. By separating the content from the code, a headless content platform such as Contentful offers a powerful solution for publishing content, customizing the user experience, and streamlining day-to-day maintenance.
For a client with an immense amount of content—from audio clips and videos to troves of photographs—Contentful provided the absolute best solution. The technology allowed the Museum all the tools necessary to create, update, and disseminate content with ease.
Plus, Contentful was a fantastic option for the Museum’s own technology team. It provided them with the capabilities of editing and distributing content with ease and efficiency.
A fast frontend framework for headless CMSes, Gatsby makes building websites with a CMS, API, or database streamlined and efficient.
After implementing the new app and encouraging visitors to create their own pathways throughout the Museum’s collection, they received an overwhelmingly positive response. Students, in particular, were served by the new app—if they were working on a project focused on clothing, for instance, they could now filter through the Museum collection to find a pathway about clothing that spanned all cultures, geographies, and time periods.
An all-encompassing opportunity to interact with art, the Museum is looking forward to continuing to reach more people and engage its visitors every step of the way. If you are in need of an app similar to this one or would like to learn more about the custom application development services we offer at LaunchPad Lab, book a free discovery call with our team today!
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