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Museums and More Go Digital with Support from Bloomberg Connects

“Everyone should have the opportunity to experience all that the arts has to offer, and technology can help make that possible by putting so much information right at our fingertips.” – Mike Bloomberg

The audio guide. The museum map.

For years, these tools have led visitors on journeys through the world’s greatest cultural institutions. They’ve provided a one-way means of experiencing amazing artifacts and groundbreaking galleries.

Now, it’s time for some new tools – tools made for the digital, social sharing age.

Today, we announced the expansion and rebranding of Bloomberg Connects (formerly known as the Digital Engagement Initiative), which provides funding for cultural institutions to enhance the visitor experiences and increase access to culture using innovative technology tools.

The expansion includes a new $17 million commitment to six institutions, where the development of new technology will increase access to the arts.

Here’s a snapshot of the new technologies Bloomberg Connects will be supporting:

Cooper Hewitt: Drawing in Visitors with Interactive Pen

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Image source: Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum

The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum will equip all visitors with an interactive Pen to fully engage with the objects on view and create their own designs. The pen will also store these experiences, enabling visitors to share them online with their social networks.

The Science Museum, London: Creating Journey through Information Age

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Image source: The Science Museum, London

What better way to experience 200 years of innovation in communication and information technology than through high-tech, digital tools? The new Information Age gallery will include apps, games, interactive screens, and more.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: Reinventing the Digital Experience

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Image source: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is reinventing their entire digital program to coincide with the museum’s building reopening in 2016.  Their focus will be on fostering creative responses to creativity, partnering with artists, game designers, and cultural commentators to create mobile and on-site experiences that are thoughtful, surprising, and irreverent.

Brooklyn Museum: Bringing Experts to You

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Image source: Brooklyn Museum

On any given trip to the museum, you may miss the tour. Or you may want to know more after reading the sign next to a certain piece. With the Brooklyn Museum’s expanded digital efforts, visitors will be able to use their mobile devices to ask questions to experts in real-time and get suggestions on additional works of art to explore with help from location-based technology.

American Museum of Natural History: Utilizing Location-Based Technology

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Image source: American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History has already pioneered location-based technology for a museum app with Explorer. New digital efforts will update this app with features like personalized journeys, exclusive content, and new ways to share experiences at each exhibit.

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay Connecting Nature with Digital Space

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Image source: Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay

The Gardens by the Bay mobile app will bring the natural beauty of this Singapore horticultural attraction into the digital space. With interactive trails and engaging stories, the app will connect visitors with the plants surrounding them in a new and more meaningful way.

This new funding is part our ongoing commitment to help cultural institutions around the globe develop technologies to enhance the visitor experience. Including the new grantees, the foundation has provided $83 million since 1999 to institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Jewish Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Tate Modern as well as the Metropolitan Opera, The New York Botanical Garden, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.