Publish at 22 septembre 2021 Updated 30 octobre 2021

Does the Future of the Museum Lie in Holograms?

How Technology Will Change Museology

The museum has changed greatly in recent decades. Institutions quickly took a more interactive turn while older people remember monotonous, imposed school tours. Indeed, the educational community was hesitant about the use of digital technologies, museums saw them as ways to get the visitor more involved. Thus, the visit is transformed into a didactic and playful journey that delights young and old alike.

Techniques such as augmented reality are increasingly present in the museum landscape. For example, during the summer of 2021, visitors of the Muséum National D'Histoire Naturelle could observe extinct species such as dodos, the great saber-toothed tiger, or the elephant bird. One experiment among many that set the tone for the future of museums.

Modernization through Holograms

What will museums look like in 2049? A meeting at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, held in October 2019, was already setting the tone. There, participants talked about the possibilities of virtual reality and holograms. Indeed, the latter technology is advancing more and more. For museums, it is the next logical step.

Despite the reluctance of some museum directors, no one can deny that the prospects of the hologram are growing. Small tech companies specializing in the phenomenon like Holusion are multiplying, offering their services to universities and museums of all types alike. Hololens technology allows for the creation of "mixed" reality, a mix between the real and the virtual. For example, it was possible to see the timeline of the construction of Mont-Saint-Michel, giving visitors access to never-before-seen details.

Examples of Immersion

So, the technology is already showing up in some establishments.

  • In Tautavel, the Prehistory Museum is offering people a smart device to follow a guided tour via a hologram. By the way, various parts of the exhibition are only available in augmented reality.

  • The "Lost Atlantis experience" museum on the island of Santorini, Greece, offers a look at the myth of Atlantis that the philosopher Plato wrote about. There it is possible to chat with a representation of the thinker to understand his ideas, watch interactive videos and observe the holographic map of the island and its geological developments.

  • The "Reading Public Museum" in Pennsylvania has developed a hologram installation that allows the mummy Nefrina to "come to life" and tell its life story to visitors.

So holograms are expanding the possibilities for museums. An institution could recreate the magic of the "A Night at the Museum" movies. Ancient landmark figures could be brought to life, prehistoric animals and dinosaurs could be animated, and even treasure and information hunts could be created with these technologies. This mixed reality has even more appeal as hologram techniques continue to advance.

Researchers are working on the possibility of designing holographic images that we could feel and touch. A child could stroke the feathers of a velociraptor while his parents virtually shake hands with an illustrious president. Holograms could also become living music archives, immortalizing virtuosos forever.

It seems that the limits of holograms are constantly being pushed. Such technologies require facilities. These can cost approximately 2000 euros. More ambitious projects such as; the reconstruction of a battle or the extinct species cost in the range of 10,000 to 15,000 euros, or even more. Substantial investments, certainly, but with a great potential to seduce visitors. Especially since this technology complies with health regulations such as those required during the covid-19 pandemic.

Illustration : ramazan balayev from Pixabay

References :

"Ancient Civilizations Gallery to Display Hologram of Mummy Nefrina." Reading Magazine. Last updated September 16, 2020.

Hammady, Ramy, and Carl Strathearn. "Holographic History is Making 'Night at the Museum' a Reality." The Conversation. Last updated: January 20, 2021.

"Holograms You Can Touch and Feel." Science Connected Magazine. Last updated: May 6, 2021.

"Hololens : La Technologie Au Cœur Des Musées." Programmez!. Last updated: April 27, 2021.

"La Modernisation Des Musées Par L'hologramme." Holusion. Accessed September 17, 2021.

"Le Musée « Lost Atlantis Expérience », Entre Mythe Et Nouvelles Technologies." Vivre Athènes. Last updated: June 4, 2021.

Louët, Margaux. "Hologrammes Au Musée." Plateforme des médiations muséales. Accessed September 17, 2021.

Noisette, Thierry. "Réalité Virtuelle, Hologrammes… Quels Musées En 2049 ?" L'Obs. Last updated: 28 October 2019.

Nussbaum, Virginie. "L’hologramme Comme Archive Musicale." Le Temps. Last updated: April 5, 2021.

Pujolas, Marie. "À Tautavel, Un Hologramme Guide Les Visiteurs Du Musée De La Préhistoire." Franceinfo. Last updated: October 15, 2020.

"Revivre, Les Animaux Disparus En Réalité Augmentée." Muséum National D'Histoire Naturelle. Accessed September 17, 2021.

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