Knight Foundation Gives Museums $1.87 Million to Step Up Audience Engagement

Grants will enhance tech-related initiatives ranging from chatbots to virtual reality apps.

The DIA’s Lumin project allows visitors to see inside the sarcophagus of an ancient mummy. New funding will allow visitors to explore the creation of and symbolism behind the institute’s famed Rivera murals. Courtesy Detroit Institute of Arts.

A dozen museum will share a $1.87 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to develop tech-related initiatives aimed at improving audience engagement.

According to a release from the Knight Foundation, the museums, which span the US, will use a range of tools, from chatbots to augmented reality apps and digital projection, to attract and engage new audiences. “The museums will introduce people to important context in an interactive manner, and, in some cases, virtually surround visitors in the place and time the art was created,” in an effort to enhance the visitor experience, according to a statement.

Each of the funded projects is tailored to the individual city and the specific museum’s collection. For instance, at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, the institution’s Innovation Studio is experimenting with a chatbot that will engage visitors about art and events, sans app.

Photogrammetry rendering of Vizcaya’s Barge. Courtesy Daruma Tech

Photogrammetry rendering of Vizcaya’s Barge. Courtesy Daruma Tech

“We support arts institutions that are willing to lead and seize the opportunities tech offers to engage visitors, patrons and audiences,” said iKnight Foundation president Alberto Ibargüen.

The full list of recipients and grant amounts include:

Akron Art Museum ($173,329) to develop an in-person experiement called “The Curator Is In” which will inform the museum’s digital strategy.

The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia ($155,000) for new ways of searching the online collection with visual characteristics.

Carnegie Museums, Pittsburgh, ($150,000) for a new mobile experience that uses a chatbot.

Detroit Institute of Arts ($150,000) to expand a pilot that allows visitors to explore the collection through augmented reality and 3-D animations.

Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, ($200,000) to help the museum engage visitors through digital media as it opens its first permanent facilitiy in the Design District this year.

Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, ($148,800) to improve its digital storytelling platform,

The Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina, ($150,000) to create an interactive staircase and public art installation that uses light and sound.

Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia, ($100,000) to help launch the FullDome Festival, in partnership with the Macon Film Festival.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago ($150,000) to develop a digital scavenger hunt that encourages museum-goers to locate works in the galleries.

New Museum, New York ($250,000) to help create a museum technology track at NEW inc. the museum’s incubator and professional development program.

Perez Art Museum, Miami ($150,000) to help develop an augmented reality app that will feature multimedia content.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami ($100,000) to help develop 3D modeling and printing that will allow visitors to explore spaces of the National Historic Landmark that are not accessible to the public.






Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.