Museums have long suffered from two major logistical problems: Space constraints allow only a small portion of their collection to be displayed at once, and the Herculean effort of building and rearranging exhibits makes it difficult for museums to be flexible and respond to current events.
To combat these pernicious problems, Motivo, a Columbus, Ohio-based company, has created the Configurable Tour, an application that lets visitors log on to a museum’s website and create a virtual exhibit based on their particular interests, then print out a map to guide them around the museum floor.
The technology helps museums turn static exhibit artifacts into interactive items that visitors can see in multiple contexts. Robert Abbott, chief creative officer and president of Motivo, points out that visitors could examine a simple item like a lightbulb in many different lights (pardon the pun), depending on whether they’re searching for items relating to Thomas Edison, hydroelectric power or glass-blowing. “The tour gives visitors the ability to investigate and recombine artifacts on what we call a virtual scavenger hunt,” says Abbott.
And as you might expect, the application can work with any kind of museum. The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity in Boston plans to make the Configurable Tour available to its patrons when it opens in September.