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Best Practices in AR from Portuguese Museum Professionals

Introduction: A Digital Renaissance in Museums

Augmented Reality (AR) is leading a digital renaissance in museums, transforming them into dynamic spaces of engagement and learning. Portuguese museums are at the forefront of this innovation, providing valuable insights into the effective use of AR.


AR: Making History Come Alive

Museums like the Money Museum in Lisbon are using AR to breathe new life into their exhibits. Visitors can see ancient artifacts and currencies in their historical context, making the museum experience more vivid and engaging.


Enhancing Visitor Engagement and Education

The Pharmacy Museum in Lisbon demonstrates how AR can enhance educational content. Interactive AR experiences allow visitors to explore the development of pharmaceuticals, making complex information easily accessible and engaging.


Interactive Storytelling with AR

The RTP Museum in Lisbon employs AR for storytelling, vividly narrating the history of Portuguese broadcasting. This innovative approach has garnered positive feedback for its immersive and educational qualities.


Improving Accessibility in Museums with AR

The Óbidos Museum’s implementation of AR includes accessibility features like sign language and audio descriptions, making the museum experience more inclusive for all visitors, including those with disabilities.


AR in Outdoor Settings: A New Perspective

The Côa Parque Foundation in Vila Nova de Foz Côa showcases AR’s versatility by using it in outdoor archaeological contexts. This approach offers visitors a unique perspective on ancient art and historical sites.


Personalizing Museum Experiences

At the Carlos Machado Museum in Azores, AR is used to create personalized visitor experiences. By allowing visitors to tailor their museum journey, AR enhances engagement and overall satisfaction.


Reviews and Feedback: The Impact of AR

Feedback from visitors to these museums has been overwhelmingly positive, highlighting AR’s role in enhancing the overall museum experience, both in terms of education and enjoyment.


The Future

The Future of AR in Cultural Heritage

As AR technology advances, its integration into museum experiences is expected to become more widespread. The evolving trends point towards an era where AR is a standard feature in museums, providing interactive, educational, and personalized experiences to a diverse range of visitors.


Case Study: Transforming Exhibits with AR

A notable example is the Battle of Aljubarrota Interpretation Centre, where AR technology allows visitors to immerse themselves in a pivotal moment in Portuguese history. This interactive experience has not only increased visitor numbers but has also enhanced their understanding and appreciation of the historical event.


AR as a Tool for Cultural Preservation

Beyond entertainment, AR plays a crucial role in cultural preservation. It enables museums to display artifacts and historical sites in their original context, offering a deeper understanding of cultural heritage.


Navigating Challenges in AR Integration

Despite the enthusiasm for AR, challenges such as technological costs and the need for specialized staff remain. Museums like the Loulé Municipal Museum address these challenges by integrating AR in phases, ensuring a seamless blend of technology and tradition.


For further reading and a deeper understanding, refer to the paper:  Fernandes, N.; Casteleiro-Pitrez, J. Augmented Reality in Portuguese Museums: A Grounded Theory Study on the Museum Professionals’ Perspectives. Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2023, 7, 87. https://doi.org/10.3390/mti7090087

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