For certain segments of the population, museums are consistently highly valued, said Susie Wilkening, a spokesperson for museums at Wilkening Consulting. But that’s only a sliver of the population. For a bigger chunk, museums are a means to an end; they’re used as deliberate family time or to fulfill a trend.
That’s where tech comes in, Wilkening said. It caters to the visitors on the fence, making museums seem like an easier choice.
“The best use of digital is to not make you aware of the technology, but to make you aware of the art,” said Jane Alexander, chief information officer at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
“It’s about putting art on the forefront. […] It’s about better practices and thinking about how can this be a toolset to get people into the collection,” she added. “How can people use our collection to bring art into their daily lives?”
The museum is the home of the ArtLens Gallery, featuring high-tech gear like eye-tracking, motion detection and facial recognition that “surpasses barriers” in the service of drawing in art lovers.
Using an application, visitors can touch art, favorite the exhibits they like most and “create your own tour,” Alexander told CNBC. “Our goal is to get people into the galleries, and give them the tools.”
Spaces like the Gesture and Expression exhibit allow visitors to strike a pose like the figures of a painting, while a gaze tracker reveals where a visitor focuses when looking at a work of art. The six exhibits feature 14 “games” in total, allowing everything from altering the expression of figures in paintings, to decoding symbols.