Museums See The Beauty of Big Data

museum-bigdataIf you think that museums are the last bastion of pure unadulterated contemplation, you’d be very wrong.

In fact, museums have begun to tap into Big Data more and more frequently. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, for example, uses digital beacons to track visitors.

If a visitor in a certain section of the museum is reviewing a particular work of art, a digital beacon can send additional contextual information about the artwork while also recording the movements of the visitor .

The intent is for these digital beacons to provide a more integrated museum experience. A museum visitor reviewing a particular piece of artwork may also receive a smartphone alert on related products in the gift shop or other related exhibits or features within the museum .

Museums can also use digital beacons to identify which exhibits are the most popular and what type of art the visitors would prefer to see. Critics of the reliance on Big Data by museums worry that museums will simply become another retail entity with museum directors and curators responding to the whim of a public not well versed in the complexities and nuances of the art world.

Ideally, a balance will be struck between the value that Big Data brings and the need for a broad selection of art available at museums. Big Data might serve to enhance museum revenue while highlighting popular exhibits.

Photo Credit: yushimoto_02 [christian] via Compfight cc