‘Tailor-made tech’ to combat gallery congestion
Due to popularity in its galleries, the British Museum in London is creating technology that is ‘tailor-made’ for each visitor, in order to combat congestion, it has been revealed.
The technology will encourage visitors to see other and less well-known parts of the galleries, other than its famous and most popular exhibits. This will be done by analysing the interests and decisions of guests, which will then match the works of arts they have already seen or want to see, with similar artefacts that they are unaware of.
Currently, those visiting the galleries are most drawn to the Parthenon sculptures and mummies, and the Rosetta Stone. Should the technology be a success, the British Museum hopes to roll out the plans long term, by opening up a Reading Room for exhibitions and bringing more objects from the Americas and Polynesia out of storage.
According to the museum’s director, 37 per cent of the world’s landmass is missing or underrepresented in public gallery spaces.
It is hoped that digital can be utilised to better distribute guests in the museum so they aren’t swarming around only a small selection of artefacts and also go away satisfied with their visit.
Hartwig Fischer, the British Museum’s director, commented: “Certain areas will always be much visited. This is a very public and popular space. You will always, when you come here, have the privilege of being with others, which is wonderful.
“When you look into the future, digital will play a much bigger role when it comes to making people engage with the collections and taking people through it. You will be able to understand much more precisely what people are looking for, where their special interest is, how much time they have, do they come with kids or without kids.”
Guests will then be provided with a tailor-made suggestion, Dr Fischer went on to explain, as to where they should go so that they can see what they want and will be interested in.
So far, the museum has already been quizzing gallery assistants on which part of the collections were proving to be most popular among visitors by analysing which items are the most photographed.
In time, the British Museum hopes to provide all guests with devices that allow them to wander freely around the galleries while receiving information directly to their phones as well as suggestions of other artefacts they may like to see.
Dr Fischer told the Telegraph that his plans for the future include a pledge to “recalibrate the balance and presence of different cultures”. There are also plans for the museum to open an additional three galleries in 2017-18 featuring works from the Islamic world, China, Japan and South Asia.