May 18, 2017 (Detroit)—The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) won the 2017 MUSE gold award from the American Alliance of Museums for the museum’s popular augmented reality (AR) tour, Lumin, in the category “Games and Virtual/Augmented Reality.” The MUSE Awards competition received more than 200 applications from a wide variety of institutions in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
The DIA received other good news on the Lumin front. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has awarded the DIA a $150,000 grant to expand Lumin’s 3D offerings and to develop additional tour stops, including the murals in Rivera Court, as well as wayfinding. Knight funds, part of a larger initiative to help museums use technology to immerse visitors in art, will also be used to purchase 150 Lenovo smart devices, which serve as handheld Lumin tour guides. The new tour stops will be available this October.
“The intersection of art and technology is a critical component of creating experiences in the museum to share with others,” said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director. “Lumin is a shining example of how cutting-edge technology can enhance visitors’ relationship with our collection, by providing new connections to the art that would otherwise not be possible. Knight Foundation’s grant allows us to expand these opportunities for our visitors, making the collection more accessible to everyone in our community.”
“People want their art experiences to be personalized, interactive and shareable, just as they expect of everything else in their daily lives. Museums need to continue to make this cultural shift, engaging visitors on-site and on-line with their collections in innovative ways. We hope funding from Knight Foundation can help fuel the process, so the DIA and other institutions can continue to be vibrant centers of community life,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation.
Lumin, which uses Google’s Tango technology, was developed in partnership with Google and the app developer GuidiGo to provide visitors with new, in-depth ways to engage with the DIA’s renowned collection. Visitors hold a Lenovo Phab 2 Pro smartphone while looking at a work of art. AR overlays, videos, photographs, sounds or touch-activated animations appear on the screen to provide contextual information, such as how an object was initially used, its original location or details not normally seen by the public.
Lumin became available to individual visitors on Jan. 25 this year as a prototype with seven stops and 40 devices on loan from Google. Since the prototype launch, the DIA has received feedback from users and conducted research on the Lumin experience. Knight Foundation’s grant will fund: improvements to current stops based on the feedback and research; 12 new stops, six of which will be available this October, including van Gogh’s “Portrait of Postman Roulin” and Diego Rivera’s “Detroit Industry” murals; the addition of wayfinding to include directions to rest rooms, dining areas and other non-art points of interest; and the purchase of 150 Lenovo devices that will be available to school groups.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.