MuseumAR is an innovative initiative supported by the European Commission that aims to amplify the cultural legacy of the Mediterranean region by establishing a cohesive network comprising museums, cultural institutions, and local communities. The project advocates for the adoption of digital technologies and multimedia resources to enhance the availability of cultural assets and to offer visitors immersive and interactive experiences. Through the integration of virtual and physical environments, MuseumAR introduces a fresh approach to the preservation and interpretation of cultural heritage, facilitating a dialogue and collaboration among diverse stakeholders.
Alchemilla Cooperativa Sociale is an innovative start-up founded by experts in the fields of community dramaturgy, education, scriptwriting, communication and new technologies. The flagship project developed by Alchemilla is Artoo, a unique bear who lives in a museum’s attic and loves art. When he doesn't understand a painting, he asks children for help. He knows they have a special sixth sense for discovering the hidden meaning of things.
Artoo is more than just a character; it is a method developed by Alchemilla, which creates processes and products that make art an everyday experience, while generating social impact and promoting intergenerational inclusion. Alchemilla also cultivates community relations through digital and artistic experiences, while creating
opportunities for youth to advocate in today's societies. Alchemilla is specialised in digital training and workshops, performing and visual arts: through these disciplines and methodologies, children, young people and communities discover what they are and imagine what they can become.
About Alchemilla’s digital tools
Alchemilla has developed a suite of cutting-edge digital tools to support its educational activities thanks to which the team is able to create engaging and interactive learning experiences that leverage the power of new technologies to enrich children’s learning process. These tools are:
- Artooo4Education: the integrated digital didactics platform for the management of digital workshop paths in pre-school and primary schools is currently available as a web app. The app was developed within the Sweethive technology environment. The workshop management environment, the mechanisms for recording children's audios and the subsequent processing and transcription of content, as well as all integrated digital educational content on the topics of art, cultural heritage and active citizenship and the functionalities for which students can upload their own digital artefacts, are digital tools owned by Alchemilla. The platform is currently used in 70 schools and the stability and good user responses encourage further development of the platform in terms of technological infrastructure and content, which will be developed with the schools using the Artoo4education web app.
- Artoo App: at present the app is available on both iOS and Android platforms (accessible both in English and Italian), and it is structured to provide users with a unique and engaging experience centred around various content themes such as artists, active citizenship, and museums. This experience is augmented by user-generated content (UGC) created by the students themselves, which helps to enrich the overall learning experience.
- Artoo AI: downstream of the two products listed above, Alchemilla has created an Artificial Intelligence mechanism that leverages machine learning to identify and evaluate the content produced by children using the Artoo app and Artoo4Education in classrooms. This innovative tool operates at the intersection of multiple data streams, which it anonymizes and administers according to the most stringent privacy management standards to generate comprehensive reports and analyses for educational purposes.
Of particular interest to Alchemilla is the direct insight that can be gained from children's voices. To extract valuable information from the audio files, the tool first converts them into text format using an algorithm specially designed to accommodate the unique linguistic characteristics of young children. The resulting analysis algorithm represents a groundbreaking advancement in the ability to transcribe and understand children's voices.
In addition to voice-to-text conversion, the tool also employs a function that analyzes the sentiment generated by children’s recordings, producing aggregated analyses to support broader educational objectives.
Future potential developments
The groundbreaking Artoo project developed by Alchemilla has already demonstrated the potential of digital technologies to make art an integral part of everyday life, promoting social impact, and fostering intergenerational inclusion. Future potential developments of it may concern both the existing digital tools and the implementation of new ones in the perspective of a development of the MuseumAR project with the European partners.
One area of potential growth is the continued development of the Artoo app, which could be expanded to include even more content proposals, artists, and museums. By incorporating additional content themes, the app can provide an even more engaging and immersive learning experience for children.
Another area of potential growth is the continued development of the Artoo4Education platform, which could be expanded by integrating more digital educational content on different subjects and topics and upgrading the technological infrastructure for improved functionality and stability.
Moreover, the continued development of the AI tool represents a significant opportunity for future growth. As the algorithm continues to evolve and improve, it will be able to provide even more detailed and nuanced analyses of children's voices, helping to create an even more immersive and engaging learning experience for them.
More potential digital enhancements that could be implemented after the first results obtained within the MuseumAR project could be:
- Augmented Reality (AR) exhibitions: Museums can use AR technology to provide visitors with interactive and immersive experiences. For example, visitors could use a mobile app to view AR overlays that provide additional information, animation, or 3D models of objects in the exhibit.
- Virtual exhibitions: Museums can create virtual exhibitions that allow visitors to explore them from their own devices. This could include 360° videos of exhibition’s spaces, interactive virtual tours, or even full 3D renderings of the exhibition that visitors can explore in detail.
- Digital guides: Museums can provide visitors with digital guides that offer additional information, multimedia content, and interactive experiences. This could include mobile apps that provide audio or video commentary, interactive maps, or even gamified experiences that encourage visitors to explore the exhibit in more detail.
- Digital archives: Museums can create digital archives that provide online access to their collections of artworks, artefacts, and other items that are not currently on display. These digital archives could include high-resolution images of the objects, detailed descriptions and metadata, and even multimedia content such as videos and audio recordings. Museums can use digital archives to showcase their collections in new and innovative ways. They could create virtual exhibitions using objects from the digital archive, or use augmented reality technology to provide visitors with interactive and immersive experiences.
- Multimedia installations: Museums can create multimedia installations that combine art and technology to create interactive and immersive experiences. For example, they could create a projection mapping exhibition that responds to the child's movements or a sound installation that uses interactive elements to create a unique audiovisual experience.
Overall, the use of digital implementations in museums can provide children with new and innovative ways to engage with exhibits, and can help museums to attract a younger audience by offering interactive and engaging experiences.