In its latest initiative to use game-changing technology, The Cleveland Museum of Art in Cleveland, Ohio, has introduced the ARTLENS Gallery, which responds seamlessly to body movement. The new technology is designed to help students focus on artworks in unobtrusive ways and to strengthen visitors’ understanding of art through pedagogically rigorous yet fun games.
Since opening last summer, the space has included both celebrated masterworks from the collection and objects that the public may not know about in the hope that return-visitors will recognize hidden gems on future trips. Featured works will be rotated every 18 months.
“The Cleveland Museum of Art is committed to using the potential of cutting-edge technology to enhance our visitor’s experience,” said William M. Griswold, museum director. “Through new digital interactives, ARTLENS Gallery intends to take away the intimidation of the art museum.”
The ARTLENS Gallery is replacing Gallery One, a hands-on and technology-based space that helped students learn how works of art are made, where they came from and why they were produced. The revolutionary Gallery One space featured the largest multi-touch MicroTile screen in the United States, which displayed images of more than 4,100 objects from the museum’s world-renowned permanent collection. From its initial inception, the museum considered the original Gallery One to be more of a “proof of concept” than an endpoint.
“Gallery One was an unqualified success from the day it opened in 2013,” Griswold said. “It won multiple awards, and articles about it appeared in many major national publications. However, we wanted the space to better provide our visitors with the toolset they would need to understand and enjoy the museum’s collection.”
Students can create their own original artwork in ArtLens Studio; engage with masterworks of art and touchscreen-free interactives in ARTLENS Exhibition; and connect with the museum’s world-renowned collection at the ARTLENS Wall.
Visitors can then use the ARTLENS App to save the artworks they learn about and the photos they take during the experience. And students can map their visit throughout the museum using the app’s responsive wayfinding technology.
“While the innovative technology is itself awe-inspiring and fun, the most exciting part of ARTLENS is that we are providing new tools for visitors to look at artwork more closely and to gain a better understanding of key concepts,” said Jane Alexander, the museum’s chief information officer. “We are using digital innovation to promote individual and social participation, and open and enlightened public discourse, to advance our goal of helping people start a relationship with the museum’s collection.”
The gallery encourages engagement on a personal, emotional level, and the art selection and barrier-free digital interactives inspire students to approach the museum’s collection with greater curiosity.
“Our primary goal was to design a pedagogical framework for the games that encourages closer looking, enhances understanding and deepens the resonance of works of art for our visitors,” said Lori Weinke, associate director of interpretation. “ARTLENS offers visitors an opportunity to investigate artworks from across the collection in a single location through play.”
The museum offers formal student experiences in the ARTLENS Gallery through hour-long Gallery Exploration programs. Middle school topics include Geology and Art; Design Thinking: Chairs; and Ratio and Scale. High school topics include Design Thinking: Create Your Own Interactive and Design Your Own Exhibition.
For more information, call 216-421-7350 or visit clevelandart.org.