Everyone probably has a memory of being dragged to a museum as a kid. Walking around in silence, staring at static displays and cardboard mounted descriptions can be, well, a bit boring.
Today’s museums deliver an entirely different experience. In an effort to compete with upscale movie theaters and to capture the elusive attention of young visitors, museums are increasingly incorporating dynamic and immersive technology applications.
The Knight Foundation awarded a total of $1.87 million to 12 art museums using immersive technology to enhance the museum experience. The winning projects include a chatbot that can interact with museum visitors, augmented reality apps and digital projections that allow museums to deliver education with a side of entertainment—a winning formula for visitors of all ages.
Projectors Make Museums More Immersive Than Ever
Projectors are a high impact, cost-effective way for museums to create a more unique, immersive experience for visitors. Two Smithsonian Museums, the Hirschorn Museum and the Freer Gallery of Art used projection technology to turn their exterior walls into giant movie screens. By projecting a panoramic still image onto the walls of an interior room, you can transform it into an ancient city or other faraway location. Projectors can also be used to display captions, descriptions and commentary text for exhibits while preserving flexibility to change the placement or wording instantaneously.
But not any old projector will do. When considering a projection solution for a museum you should keep the following questions in mind:
- How reliable is it? Museum projectors need to run 24/7 without breaking down.
- How loud is it? Noisy fans or clicking noises will disrupt the immersive experience and bring guests right back to reality.
- What is the total cost of ownership? Projectors are not just a one-time investment. Museums with a high volume of projectors and high usage of those projectors should choose models that won’t require frequent lamp replacements and other costly maintenance.
Projectors used in museums also need to perform well in large spaces with a lot of ambient light, as well as provide high definition, high contrast images that can be easily seen and understood by people standing both close by and far away.
Why the Best Museum Experience is with 4K Projectors
For most museums, a 4K projector is the best solution and, thanks to new products on the market such as the Optoma 4K500, they are now very affordable as well.
The Optoma 4K500 provides all the features we discussed above and much more. A simple, embedded control panel allows you to easily control zoom, focus and lens direction. Intuitive controls also make images easy to square up with the correct size and aspect ratios.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) means whiter whites and darker darks that make images pop merits to greater contrast and color range. And, thanks to an 8.3 million pixel display—nearly four times the average HD display pixel count— 4K projectors create more detailed images that better support a fully immersive experience.
4K projectors are also compatible with non-UHD content—a key factor for museums dealing with antique photographs and other older media—and can “upscale” existing video content to sharper, clearer, higher resolution 4K UHD images.
Immersive Museum Exhibits Are a Winning Strategy
Although they are less expensive than ever before, 4K projectors still represent a significant investment for museums. Luckily, it’s money that will come back to them quickly.
Every year, the direct economic impact of people going to museums and other cultural institutions comes to around $21 billion. That's a result of about 850 million visits, and technology has only driven those numbers higher.
More people visiting museums may mean more strain on and risk to the valuable artifacts museums contain, but video and projection applications can solve that problem as well.
See how AVI Systems helped the North Dakota Heritage Center and Museum use high-resolution video and projection technology to both enhance the museum experience and protect its irreplaceable artifacts.