This new smartphone app connects the passion of visitors to the museum and to each other.
Museums are so incredibly cool. In fact, you could go as far as to say museums are awesome. Literally: they inspire awe. Awe at what humanity can do, from artists labouring on exquisite treasures to whole generations working together to discover new techniques and technologies. Long before the internet let us collect knowledge, before we could store whole libraries on SD cards the size of a fingernail, there were museums: making knowledge publicly accessible and physically present.
in London we’re lucky that so many of these amazing institutions are free to visit and open to all, allowing regular returns to engage with their permanent collections, like a library of objects you can keep coming back and reading the stories from, getting to grips with in whole new different ways, and make friends with your favourite pieces.
But you know what makes museums even more incredible? People! Everything inside museums was collected by other humans, as well made by them. Endless conversations and emotions inform every room and display in museums, with hundreds of stories hanging in the air. Even more narratives are created as we move through the space and feel the dots connecting in our heads in unpredictable ways.
ArtString is here to crowdsource the wonder museums inspire, to make all this passion (from volunteers, staff and enthusiasts) visible to visitors that walk into the silent hall of the museum. It can all find a new home on the digital platform created by ArtString.
Granting access to the complete displayed collection of museums in a user-friendly way, the app allow users to leave comments for specific artefacts, add hashtags to improve navigation, and create ‘strings’ of art works on whatever theme their art’s desire (‘Biblical Highlights’, ‘Women Inventors’, ‘Cute Butts”, or simply “My Favourites”), which other users can explore and save, helping contextualise the objects in whole new ways.
ArtString will build an endless, ever-changing resource for empowered learning and engagement, put together by museum visitors for museum visitors. These contributions can open doors to new perspectives through improved thematic navigation via hashtags. Which can include hidden histories (what spicy stories do other people know about the artists that’s not on the placards? How was the artefact made?), annotations on subjects like context of the work and how it fits in to what’s happening in the world right now (was it bought? Stolen? Found? What does that mean for the way we relate to it now?), or themed strings on varied topics such as symbolism from different cultures - to just plain fun ideas like beauty contests for paintings of dogs.
The learning and creating extends past the museum walls: users can save their favourite strings and artefacts as souvenirs, and share the fun by sending strings to friends, encouraging conversations and interaction with museums in new ways - with other users, and with the collections themselves.
ArtString was built to make museums into places of shared human emotion: spaces where unique interpretations can be exchanged across the multitude of human experience, and users can guide each other’s curiosity into investigation, allowing them to navigate a constellation of previously unexplored stories. In this digital space created by ArtString, loud ideas are articulated and shared inside the contemplative space of the museum, making users part of a larger conversation.