A 21st-Century Museum Trip

Alexey Moskvin/Tate Britain
Alexey Moskvin/Tate Britain

I am constantly in awe of technology and the advancements that have been made just within my lifetime – particularly when it crosses with one of my biggest passions: travel.

Recently, the Tate Britain museum in London engaged people around the world in their “After Dark” project. I learned about the project while listening to an NPR segment called “A Night at the Museum – With Robots” and was instantly amazed by the experience that was offered to virtually anybody with access to the internet.

“After Dark” gave people the opportunity to control one of four robots around the museum after hours. Participants filled out a brief form and were randomly selected to take control of the robots for a few minutes. The robots navigated around the exhibits, streaming a “robot’s-eye” view into 500 years of British art.

Throughout the night, experts and museum guides offered viewers commentary on the art – providing a truly interactive experience. Even those who were not selected to control a robot had the chance to see the museum in a unique and engaging way.

Unsurprisingly, The Tate took a number of precautions to make sure the robots couldn’t damage the art (including a wide base with a kill switch if the robot were to run into anything). Tate employees even created a space in the basement to monitor the nights’ activity and address any issues.

Efforts like this give people the ability to travel to places they may never have the opportunity to visit in person. I hope to see more projects like this take off as our technology becomes more and more advanced. Do you know of other initiatives like “After Dark”?

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