The Goulandris Natural History Museum (G.N.H.M.) in collaboration with Mellon Technologies (Mellon), having submitted a funding request to the Call RESEARCH – CREATE – INNOVATE (European Regional Development Fund, Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation EPAnEK), and having completed the procedure for the integration of the Proposal, shall commence in the next two years the realization of the Project “IMA: Innovative Museum Applications”, aiming to upgrade the visitor’s experience and to reform the Museum’s operations, guiding it into the new digital era.
In particular, within the framework of the IMA project, the G.N.H.M. in collaboration with Μellon are developing an integrated solution/application with the use of innovative technologies for the Display of Exhibits / Material and Educational Practices, which:
- Ensures the closer interaction of visitors with the Museum’s environment, since it meets the needs of all age groups in a modern and flexible way, while at the same time providing each visitor with the possibility of an independent tour;
- It provides educational activities that multiply the effectiveness and quality of education, as they make it possible to support a wider range of subjects and to create educational programmes of a great variety regarding the number of issues studied and the depth of scientific specialization;
-It further expands the public to which the Museum is addressed, and it enhances its popularity by strengthening and reforming its profile;
- It contributes to the promotion of various activities (exhibitions, education, research, communication with the public) as well as of the rich, unseen material that it possesses in regard to important areas (e.g. environmental protection);
- It can be implemented in many types of museums and other similar sectors such as Tourism, Entertainment and Environmental Education / Training.
On a more technical level, the solution is being developed for mobile iOS /Android devices and it includes:
- Mobile Site with information on the Museum including 360ο navigation, which provides an interactive virtual tour of the museum, as well as the on-line purchase of tickets and items from the e-shop
- Application for use on mobile devices, which, before a large number of showcases and exhibits, grants the visitors with access to extra rich material of different means, sources and levels of specialization (videos, photos, sound and documents). The application is activated with the use of Beacons / QR codes and it interactively presents multiple levels of documentation that upgrade the content provided to visitors.
- Development of new educational courses with the use of mobile devices. It will be possible to utilize educational programmes, either as a tool in the hands of teachers, or per trainee based on selected degrees of freedom, or even as e-learning material.
- Development of games for different ages, which act as a supplementary tool in educational activities and at the same time constitute an additional means for attracting the attention of visitors, such as treasure hunting for example.
- A number of themes of augmented reality, providing new experiences to the visitors.
- Real-time connection to external locations, making it possible to observe the behaviour of different species live
- Digital corner where visitors will be able to focus on special subjects from the Museum’s exhibits, and to have access to specialized videos from the Museum’s research activities
Mellon’s expertise on software development and the G.N.H.M.’s experience in managing information, collections and education by utilizing digitalized material create an integrated solution. Globally available solutions regard isolated components of the IMA solution, for example 3600 navigation, virtual tours, while most of the other structural elements appear as pilot actions. The IMA solution, by using innovative technologies (Mobile/Gaming/AR/IoT) aims to provide a holistic approach for a Museum environment.
The results of the IMA project will be available to the public after two years, during which the implementation works, and the necessary pilot tests of the integrated solution shall take place.