The Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, boasts one of the world’s leading collections of European paintings from the 13th to the 18th century. In close collaboration with Museum4punkt0—a joint-project funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media—we set out to explore the potential uses of Augmented Reality within the museum’s space.
We hypothesised that new technologies, such as augmented reality, could make museums more welcoming, accessible, and exciting to audiences. But how do we turn this idea into reality? More specifically, how do we prototype it in a way that can be experienced and evaluated in the actual museum?
What if you could reconstruct the long-lost panels of a 16th century triptych, or give museum visitors the superpower of x-ray vision to uncover the hidden layers of a painting?
We had the unique privilege of working closely with the curators of the Gemäldegalerie, running ideation workshops, both inside and outside of the gallery. Together we selected the paintings and details most suitable for augmented reality storytelling, and came up with “magical moments” that would surprise, inform, and delight the museum’s audience.
As a means to prototype and test these concepts with visitors, our team produced a fully functional iPad app featuring audio, text, images, and a variety of augmented reality overlays (X-Ray, Animations, Annotations, and more).
The resulting prototype was tested with visitors at the long night of the museums in Berlin, with overwhelmingly positive feedback: 87% of visitors asked for the application to be expanded to the entire Gallery as a permanent offering.