AV integration in museums and galleries


For museums and art galleries, audiovisual integration differs from any other environment. Ultimately, the goal of audiovisual integration is to merge audio and visual technologies to create a better experience for the audience. In a museum or art gallery, audiovisual integration can create an immersive digital experience unlike any other. While digital kiosks simplify wayfinding and the delivery of information, carefully placed lighting fixtures accentuate the beauty of any exhibit. The addition of virtual and augmented reality technologies engages visitors and facilitates the acquisition of knowledge. Furthermore, interactive displays and advanced audio technologies ensure that information is accessible to all patrons.

However, museums and art galleries must adhere to their core values when incorporating audiovisual technologies, including access to educational content, raising awareness regarding the necessity of culture, and preserving artifacts. Experienced audiovisual professionals will implement these technologies without distracting from the purpose of an exhibit. With effective audiovisual design, museums and art galleries can boost the visitor experience while still supporting their core values and mission.


1. Digital Kiosks

Digital kiosks provide ample benefits to museum and art exhibit visitors. When touch screen kiosks are strategically placed near exhibits, they create an engaging, interactive learning experience that simply is not possible with traditional signage. For example, digital kiosks can take visitors on an immersive journey and tell the story behind a work of art.

In addition, digital kiosks increase accessibility for people from all walks of life because they are capable of presenting information in many different languages and as both text and audio. Paired with QR code capabilities, visitors can also obtain more information about an exhibit using their own smartphones, eliminating the need for costly print guide books. 

Modern art galleries and museums understand the value that digital kiosks provide. Not only can digital kiosks display information, but they can also issue tickets and collect visitor details, such as for email list sign-ups. They can also empower attendance growth strategies by simplifying the process of collecting valuable market research data. Organizations can easily discover the amount of time visitors spend viewing each exhibit and which exhibit they view next. When organizations are armed with this information, they can leverage it to create improved displays in the future.


2. Lighting Choices 

Although many organizations see lighting fixtures as a secondary consideration, for museums and galleries they are crucial for creating the best experience possible for visitors. Poor lighting can be detrimental to the appearance of an otherwise stunning exhibit. If the lighting is too dark, artwork may become impossible for visitors to view clearly. However, if the lighting is too bright, it can wash out the details of an exhibit and cast an unsightly glare over a masterpiece.

Typically, a piece of art mounted on the wall will need a low wattage lamp, which encourages visitors to take a closer look. In other cases, spotlights and ceiling-mounted accent lights are ideal for illuminating an exhibit. It is ideal if the lights are positioned to focus on the center of the artwork. Regardless of how audiovisual integrators choose to display a piece, it is critical that they avoid the use of fluorescent lighting because it will deteriorate the artwork. Ideally, the lighting will be about three times brighter than the room to draw in visitors. Through thoughtful lighting design, professional audiovisual integrators can help galleries enhance even the most subtle details within an exhibit.


3. Virtual and Augmented Reality

The increasing use of augmented reality creates many opportunities for engagement and education in museums or art exhibits. Right now, the simplest way to use augmented reality is to include additional information regarding each exhibit, allowing visitors to enrich their experience using their smartphones. Some museums and art galleries use augmented reality to place digital versions of historical figures or artists next to a display. In this case, a 3D persona could provide additional information or narrate the story behind a piece of artwork. With augmented reality, museums and art galleries can bring their exhibits to life through 3D displays.

Audiovisual integrators can also implement virtual reality technology to humanize historical events and create fully immersive artistic experiences. For instance, visitors can view virtual versions of related artwork currently on loan elsewhere or that the organization does not physically possess. Furthermore, virtual reality technology can be used to create a fully immersive 3D tour or art exhibit for remote visitors.


4. Interactive Displays

In a museum or art exhibit, interactive displays often come in the form of video walls and interactive touchscreen displays. This technology can create an engaging experience for visitors. When visitors are at a particular exhibit, they can take quizzes regarding the information or play content-related games. In addition, interactive displays allow visitors to use searchable databases to learn more about the subjects that interest them the most.

Interactive displays can also provide valuable wayfinding information in maps that detail the building’s layout. Interactive displays are highly customizable, so when your organization works with experienced audiovisual integrators, each display can be tailored to your unique needs. Mobile device management software will then allow your organization to quickly update information when your displays require a change or update.


5. Advanced Audio Technology

There is great value in implementing advanced audio technology in art galleries and museums. Creative audio guides add depth to an educational experience through sound-based storytelling. Audio guides can connect works of art and historical artifacts to a unique narrative that is sure to engage visitors. To improve the overall experience, some organizations choose to use audio guides with the addition of translators, archivists, and voice actors. When organizations take the time to tailor their content for a specific audience, they can improve each visitor’s engagement. 

While some visitors prefer to read exhibit details, others may prefer to experience an exhibition with the addition of sound. These sonically-enhanced displays ensure that information is readily available for different styles of learning, which enables museums and art galleries to cater to a broad demographic of visitors. This is especially important for museums because they support a wide range of social programs, which could involve children with learning disabilities, people with Alzheimer's, and people who are learning English as a second language. Furthermore, audio technology ensures that visually-impaired visitors can also have an enjoyable experience.



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