Traveling exhibitions are a great way to bring museum collections closer to remote audiences, especially across borders and continents. Moving precious objects out of their well-regulated, permanent protective environment, however, always entails risks.
That is why we at the Hungarian National Museum opted for the use of highly immersive, crowd-interactive, giant “Magic Walls” to extend and augment our physical exhibition “Sissi and Hungary” during its China tour in 2017-18, the first such use of digital technology in international exhibition exchange. Through the exhibition, we showcased a 300-year period of our country to 2.7 million visitors across 4 major museum sites, while the digital technology allowed visitors to concurrently view hundreds of objects in high resolution, read interesting stories about the objects, as well as take all digital content home using their mobile device.
The Magic Wall was used by an average of almost 4000 visitors each day, with top days seeing as many as 6000 visitors interacting, generating millions of downloads in total. Finally, the digital technology also allowed the Hungarian National Museum to collect large amounts of feedback and visitor behavior data, including object popularity, visitation times and repeat visits, as well as other statistical information. Such visitor statistics were invaluable for future curatorial work. This use of the Magic Wall has started a heritage protection revolution across China, with hundreds of museums subsequently opting for its use to showcase their collections in both domestic and international outbound exhibitions
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