The Museater and Its Origins

13/05/2021 12:00 am

The first field test for a “Museater” was held in Wilmington, DE in the USA on 2014. The definition of “Museater” given in the press release for this first event was as following.

A museater is an institution that cares for (conserves) a collection of stories (storyworld) of scientific, artistic, cultural or historical importance, helps people to experience them in contexts where their educational and emotional impact is maximised, and facilitates their re-use and diffusion”.

A museater is a storytelling facility that offer its own self-produced tales about the treasures it hosts, but – even more significantly – offers a place for people to enrich their own inner storyworld and share new stories…”

“From a tech perspective the museater relies heavily on easy-to-use augmented reality services, that allow building a highly engaging gamified experience for the digital natives.”

With Stati Generali dell’Innovazione the concept of “Museater” has been further developed in “Educational Museater”, becoming an educational method to be used in a new informal learning context: the museums. The path that lead to this new concept, starts from the idea of creating ​​a hi-tech museum, able to enhance the intangible cultural heritage of Quintana in Foligno, Italy, a local yearly celebration of baroch art. The idea of digitalizing the event was among the results of the Social Hackathon Umbria and gave birth to the project Quintanta4D, with the purpose of growing youth involvement in the celebration, enhancing their sense of ownership, through experiences closer to their digital culture, and perhaps useful and spendable in the job market.

The project quickly developed from an educational digital entertainment concept, widespread in the city, to a broad project of school-work alternation, implemented thanks to the support of the City Hall and the schools. Thanks to the work of the students, led by professionals, many digital contents were created and then shown during the Quintana: salient moments of the origins of the Quintana, 3D models, AR experiences activated by totems scattered around the city, AR maps of the event. Collections of useful information on the city were also published on the Regional Government’s Open Data portal.

In 2017 Quintana 4D attracted 1500 visitors, with a significant increase of children and foreigners, thanks to the agreement with the tour operators. The representation of the story about the origins of the Quintana, was adapted to different contexts: live, for children, streaming and in translated to English. The collaboration with the schools was also strengthened through the years with new school-work alternation projects focusing on the training of museater guides and the creation of new contents.

The Museater methodology includes three main kinds of stages that can be built to host museatrical plays with educational purposes:

Museum-like stages. They host a collection of objects that are significant to the students. For example a surgery room, a restaurant kitchen, the engine room of a boat, an exhibition of costumes.

Linear galleries. This consists in sequences of significant images: photo exhibitions, books, card decks, even websites or slide shows on a monitor.

Digital scenes. Purely digital geofenced environments, they allow people to literally walk through the scenes and digital constructs are revealed with the use of smartphone’s camera. An example could be the digital replica of the passengers’ aisle of an airplane for maintenance crews training purposes.

In all these three forms of display, the teacher-actor exploit AR services to let the students see more than the eye can meet, get familiar or simulate interaction with safe environments. Moreover, self-learning can benefit from museater with a personal and individual experience.

The Erasmus+ funded project DREAM aims now to scale-up this good practice to more museums in the different EU partner countries, and stimulate long-term collaborations between museums, schools and cultural institutions, for the development of museatrical performances as part of informal education programs.