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Experiment on creating and deploying an app under the MuseumApp platform.

An app can be an effective means to supply museum visitors with additional information and to provide a richer or deeper experience but the medium has even more potential.

The Museumplein-tour in the MuseumApp.

The Museumplein-tour in the MuseumApp.

Museums strive to attract as many physical visitors with their activities as possible, but do not always realize that many people cannot come to the museum, possibly because of distance or their physical condition. Perhaps this potential audience could be served with this app?


However developing your own app is relatively expensive and labour intensive. By working with others the development costs can be significantly reduced and above all, reach a larger audience.


An example of such a collaborative experiment is the MuseumApp, created in 2011 by Waag Society/7Scenes with the Amsterdam Museum. In this pilot project ten museums in Amsterdam developed an application for composing a multimedia tour/app, which all Dutch museums can eventually use. The RCE took part in this initiative as a kind of experiment, to investigate how effective such an app can be for museums.

Attracting audiences

As research partners the RCE pilot developed a tour around the Museumplein [Museum Square], named Secret Museum Square. The app can be download in English or Dutch from the MuseumApp website and the App-Store. It was then investigated whether such a tool could be used to attract a new public to museums


A miscalculation here was that the RCE is not the same as a public institution like a museum, and thus the generation of a public (larger or not) is not a primary objective. The study also soon revealed that no matter how easy an app is to make, it is indeed only viable or effective when a great deal of time and effort is put into its promotion.

Promote, promote

Every opportunity should be seized to promote one's app both through analogue means such as folders on the counter aided by a QR code (or not), and through social media, a website, reviews by others, etc. The app's sales will be minimal and the impact negligible as a crowd puller if this is not done (and the RCE indeed did not).

First things first

Experiences of participating museums that did promote and make their app visible/findable proved that it definitely was beneficial. The conclusion: attracting public for the app itself is a necessary condition for using the app as a public attraction.