About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3018-3027
Publication year: 2014
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain


G. Atkinson, K. Whiteside, G. Lawrence, M. Stump, D. Tamir

Texas State University (UNITED STATES)
One of the roles of museums and art galleries is to educate visitors about the artworks held within. Museums and galleries attempt to provide historical, technical, biographical, and sociopolitical context to artworks, however, the most popular information comes in the form of text-based wall labels or hardware-based audio guides to supplement their on-staff docents. Often, these wall labels act as the only access to extra information about the artworks being viewed by the visitors. Text-based wall labels cannot take advantage of the video, audio, Web sites and other information that could lead to further learning.

In the past few years, there has been a rise of the use of software applications that expand on the amount of information supplied to the visitors. Current applications for museums are proprietary for that museum and programmed specifically for each exhibition. This means that whenever a new exhibition is installed, a new version of the software must be developed. In most of these cases, the museums are required to supply proprietary hardware for check-out at the visitor’s center. While the more famous museums have large endowments allowing them to create custom applications, and supply loaner hardware to their visitors, the vast majority of smaller, community museums do not have the resources available to create these costly systems.

We have developed a smartphone application, called Musing, an Augmented Reality application that allows a museum visitor to scan an artwork with a smartphone camera. Using image processing, the application recognizes the artwork and places user interface in the form of points of interest over the artwork displayed on-screen. These points of interest provide the visitor with historical, technical, biographical, and sociopolitical information in the form of video, audio, text overlays, and Web sites. Placing the points of interest over specific parts of the art, allows the museologist to provide enhanced information on specific parts of the artwork. In addition, the Musing application allows users to favorite artworks so they can take this information home with them to write school papers or share with others. Musing is available for free download on the Apple Store. Users are able to view permanent collections of works without visiting the museums, but in order to access current exhibitions; they must visit the museum and scan the artworks in the gallery. Alternatively they can try Musing’s image recognition, scan images located here http://www.musingapp.com/test_images/.

To date, the team has created a working application (client) and deployed it in the University Galleries at Texas StateUniversity. In the 42 days since the launch 242 users have downloaded the application. Initial exit questionnaires from users have indicated the visitors enjoy using the application and find the additional information to enhance their understanding of the artwork. This achieved one of our initial goals of creating an easy to use system that educates museum visitors about difficult to understand artworks.

A working prototype of the back-end (server) administration system is currently developed and will be available in a few weeks. This administration system will allow museologists an easy-to-use interface to create new exhibitions, input artworks, and add points of interest to the artworks. Potential future enhancement include recognizing 3-D objects adding social interaction and motion picture experience.
author = {Atkinson, G. and Whiteside, K. and Lawrence, G. and Stump, M. and Tamir, D.},
series = {8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2014 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-616-8412-0},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {10-12 March, 2014},
year = {2014},
pages = {3018-3027}}
AU - G. Atkinson AU - K. Whiteside AU - G. Lawrence AU - M. Stump AU - D. Tamir
SN - 978-84-616-8412-0/2340-1079
PY - 2014
Y1 - 10-12 March, 2014
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2014 Proceedings
SP - 3018
EP - 3027
ER -
G. Atkinson, K. Whiteside, G. Lawrence, M. Stump, D. Tamir (2014) MUSING - ENHANCING EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE THROUGH AN AUGMENTED REALITY/VIRTUAL MUSEUM APPLICATION, INTED2014 Proceedings, pp. 3018-3027.