Deepen and extend the museum experience
Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum hosts many of the world’s finest masterpieces: over 8,000 treasures across 80 exhibition rooms, which span 1.5 kilometres. The museum was after a unique app – one that would enable visitors to deepen and extend the museum experience. Instead of burdening museum-goers with mountains of extra information, the app is a simple and intuitive knowledge companion. Keeping in mind a simple principle – see more – we developed a portal into a deeper dimension.
A magic window
The Rijksmuseum App transforms a smart phone into a magnifying glass, set of binoculars, time machine, infrared scanner, sketch pad or magic wand. Conceived together with KissTheFrog, the project is based on the concept of a magic window, which reveals noteworthy stories and surprising details about both the Rijksmuseum’s collection and its architecture. To date, visitors can experience over 800 stories at almost 300 collection pieces.
Elegant and simple
The app – or magic window – highlights an important aspect of a work of art or historic object, but then the attention goes straight back to the source material. ‘It’s respectful of the objects and the space,’ says NorthernLight cofounder Peter Slavenburg. ‘It’s an elegant, lightweight companion – not something that gives you extra information you could better absorb at home. The argument could have been to make it all audio, but a short visual experience explains more than 1,000 words.’
The incremental experience begins with a short piece of audio. A visual clue follows, divulging lesser-known details about widely known works. In Johannes Vermeer’s The Milkmaid, for example, an X-ray uncovers more decoration on the background wall, which was later painted over. A third (audio) layer adds extra depth for those who want to know even more.
With over a millions downloads and rentals since its launch in 2013, the Rijks App has been a huge success. The project has also received numerous prizes, including the FIAMP Golden Award and the Heritage in Motion Award.
Earlier this year, the app had a technical and functional makeover at the hands of Fabrique and Q42, and is now going into its second life phase.
Share this page