Instagram to Bring Virtual Museum Tour-Like Experience Through AR

Smithsonian Museum
Photo : Screenshot from Great Big Story's Official YouTube Channel

Social media giant Instagram will utilize once again the use of augmented reality or AR. This time, it will partner with museums to bring a virtual museum tour-like experience available in the social media app.

The now Facebook owned company will be partnering with three museums and institutions from the United States to pull this new project of theirs. The museums participating in this new venture of Instagram are the Palace of Versailles, Le Grand Palais, and the Smithsonian Institution in which over a dozen of museums are affiliated with it. It includes the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian American Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution Building.

Some exhibits from the mentioned museum will be featured within the new AR effect by Instagram. The users of the app may get a closer look on to the exhibits, artworks, and displays on the museums available. Museum content can be accessed through the in-app camera feature of Instagram.

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This is how the Discovery space shuttle and Triceratops skeleton from the Smithsonian museum could be seen, through the exhibits' AR version. More exhibits could be featured from the museums mentioned to be part of the partnership as time would go by.

The effects presented by the social media giant are included in the company's Spark AR platform. This has also been utilized by some beauty brands that are using Instagram. They have developed AR-try-on experiences through effects, and also viral user-created filters which has been becoming a thing especially on the Instagram stories feature. It allows users to take a selfie, or to video themselves while using the filter effects available in the platform.

Virtual Museum Tours In Line with the Pandemic

The initiative to add the museum exhibits as an AR effect primarily came from the lockdown being brought by the COVID-19. Schools were prohibited as much as possible to have school and field trips, especially on museums. Museum tours and operations were also disrupted and has been gradually returning to open, although only a few visitors are coming in so far.

Through the Instagram AR exhibits, Instagram users especially students, researchers, museum enthusiasts and visitors may now experience a somewhat "virtual tour" on those museums available. Exhibit notes describing the art or display, including its history and characteristics may also be seen through the Instagram notes along with the actual images of the works. It could also be a bit adjustable since the works could be zoomed through the in-app camera, rather than compared to the actual visit which could limit the visitor from too much closeness to the exhibits.

This year, multi tech giant Google also launched their own virtual museum experience platform. The Google Arts and Culture app went on to be available earlier this year, partnering with museums such as Moscow's State Darwin Museum, and the London's Natural History Museum to bring an AR tour-like experience of the prehistoric creatures and objects being displayed on the exhibits of the mentioned museums. 

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