Client: Museum4Punkt0

Exploring new technologies at the Gemäldegalerie

A visitor at the Gemaeldegalerie is holding an iPad up to the painting The Ideal City. The iPad highlights the perspective lines using Augmented Reality.

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.

A designer from Neeeu is shooting a first-person prototyping video at the Gemaeldegalerie. She’s holding up an iPad up while wearing a head-mounted camera.

Looking at paintings through the eyes of a curator

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?

A man is drawing with a felt pen on a transparent sheet of acrylic made to look like a tablet while a female photographer is looking over his shoulder, while in an ideation workshop in a forest near Potsdam.

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).

Results and impact

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.

Going further

To learn more about this project, read our article on Medium, and for more information on how NEEEU helps drive digitalisation in cultural institutions, see our dedicated page.