Only 4% of visitors to the Louvre use the museum’s traditional audio guides, which provide history, details and trivia about the various exhibits in the famous art gallery.
In an attempt to draw more interest to the finer arts, the museum has teamed up with Nintendo for a bit of a revamp. The answer: Replace the aging audio guides with 3DS handheld gaming consoles.
In a statement, the museum’s director, Henri Loyrette, explains that the move will appeal to a greater percentage of the museum’s 8.5 million annual visitors.
Digital development has become a strategic issue for museums.
People’s habits have changed. But that offers us a huge opportunity to extend the museum’s territory, and build a lasting relationship with our visitors.
But visitors won’t be running around bumping into the Mona Lisa while playing Mario Kart, either. A custom-built piece of software will help visitors to locate themselves within a map, and choose from an assortment of pre-prepared itineraries or guided tours.
The 5,000 handhelds will also be loaded up with “hundreds” of recorded commentaries – in seven different languages – about the artworks on display. There will even be content designed specifically for younger visitors.
The scheme has been designed in partnership with both Nintendo and the Louvre, with museum staff hoping the new technology will appeal to a new generation of visitors – those who play console games at home, or who are simply happier with a touch-screen device.
…and while the 3DS is a major part of this initial push, the Louvre won’t stop there. Visitors will soon be able to use their own handsets to access the tours, with various smartphone apps currently in the works – including one for iPad.