May 3, 2011

The future of education in an augmented reality – Streetmuseum

It is no surprise that London, who has been the capital of the leading storytelling nation and creative center of Europe for centuries, was the first to use communication skills in the sphere of augmented reality. The creative agency Brothers and Sisters has created the app Streetmuseum, accessible via iPhone and Android, for the Museum of London.

The goal of the app is to present the historical and cultural heritage of the city with a wide collection of images on a challenging, picturesque and interactive way. The response of the users has surmounted all expectations. During the first four weeks 65.000 users have downloaded the free app, and the number of users from Japan to the USA surpassed 150.000. After only a year of use, the project has won several important awards – Campaign Big Award, Kinsale Shark Award , Webby, EPICA Grand Prix and Revolution Effectiveness Gold.

The opening of the new Galleries of Modern London in 2010 was the motive for the developmet of the app that revives the narrative of London and its inhabitants from 1666 to today. Around 7000 objects have been chosen to be presented, and a budget of 20 million pounds was provided. Private stories of people and their choices that have changed the future of this city are its central theme. The interactive app Streetmuseum was designed to revitalize the Museum of London and its transition into a modern subject that attracts younger generations and inspires them to visit the city.

Streetmuseum App at the Royal Exchange Bank. Photo: Musum of London.

The users can visit 200 locations via their iPhone. Exclusive collections, for which you had to visit the museum if it was part of your interest anyway, were popularized. Collections have found a way to groups who don’t find the idea of visiting a museum interesting. These collections have been brought closer to them thanks to a modern model of communication. Positive reactions to the project have flooded media and social networks on which we could read messages such as: „I visited the museum, but after I’ve seen their app.“ The Museum achieved success by attracting new visitors, by positive comments in the media but also by improving its professional status among the expert community.


In comparison to the overabundance of service apps for mobile units whose goal is to offer easier orientation in everyday life (as well as the losing of contact with reality in the same amount – A/N), this application is revolutionary for many reasons. Having in mind its own mission, the museum, as a traditional medium of communication which collects, archives, keeps and interprets public content, had to find a new meaning in contemporary society, a new media, and therefore once more restore communication between its content and the new generation via accessible technologies.

Streetmuseum App at the Buckingham Palace Gates. Photo: Musum of London.

Thirty years ago George Henri Rivière and Hugues de Varine were thinking about the interpretation of cultural heritage that would be in opposition to the one focusing on artefacts. They believed every specific site to be important, meaning, „a museum is not only a place with a museum sign, because everything is a museum.“ That is how they developed the idea of eco-museums and built the foundation of a new museology. Among people all around the world, app StreetMuseum has opened a new dimension of the idea of an omnipresent museum, taking into account the huge number of tourists visiting this metropolis every year!

Streetmuseum App at the Hyde-Park. Photo: Musum of London.

A new dimension of education

The second and most important revolutionary aspect of this app is the augmented reality in the field of education. Education will undergo a thorough reform, and part of it will be an interdisciplinary group of designers, programers, psychologists and other experts. We believe that education will develop taking that direction in the near future. Thematic apps/moduls will replace the taking in of theories and information, and the attention of the children and the youth will be directed towards practical content and its purpose via visual narrating. That is how education will adapt to the models of today’s reality, in order to achieve a successful contact with younger generations.

Tatjana Bartakovic

Tatjana Bartakovic

Editor in Chief of Design Agenda. Works as Design curator and writer but mostly living from the work in public relations, branding and content marketing.

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