Curating and Crowdsourcing: Digitizing the Museum Experience through Bloomberg Connects
Each year, millions of people pass through cultural institutions fast and with purpose—they’re on a hunt for Instagram likes and selfies. At some institutions, a virtual tour is available, be it through a mobile app that’s free to download or on the museum’s website, allowing for a digital and widely accessible alternative to curator or docent led tours for small groups of visitors. This enhanced visitor experience encourages interaction with collections and a sharing of cultural content not possible until now.
On March 19, The New York Times Arts division published its annual Museum special section, highlighting the digital work of many leading cultural institutions around the world. In publishing the groundbreaking work of these institutions, they have identified a trend that Bloomberg Philanthropies is already funding and passionate about – using new methods and approaches to engage with the arts. Through our program, Bloomberg Connects, we provide funding for the development of transformative digital programs that enhance the visitor experience at several institutions mentioned in the New York Time’s feature, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Botanical Garden, and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, where our support enabled the development of their innovative visitor tools including a digital pen.
Bloomberg Philanthropies has been committed to helping museums stay current with the latest trends in technology to enrich the visitor experience since 1999 when we first sponsored audio guides. In 2013, we began funding mobile apps and recently expanded our support to develop immersive galleries, location-aware navigational tools, and customized experiences that allow visitors to connect with artists, objects, curators and friends.