How to Build an AR Museum Application, Process, Features & Cost

Nowadays, many businesses are turning towards innovative & practical solutions to remain competitive and flourish outside of their traditional core business - and in this digital world, AR technology has come as a solid opportunity to do so for many.

For museums that want to bring in many footfalls and actually fascinatingly engage visitors, integrating AR technology with antiqueness is the quintessential strategy.

What if you could bring 18th Century artifacts to life, help visitors connect with the original mastery, visualize the story behind the heirloom piece, and frantically get to know what our predecessors were up to.

Yes, that’s achievable with Augmented Reality. It’s just 8 minutes of your time you need to know how to build an AR museum application. (we bet you won’t regret it)

So, let’s quickly know what AR applications are.

What is an Augmented Reality app (AR App)?

AR applications are software applications that give an interactive experience to users of a real-world environment with the help of visual content and audio. The objects are computer-generated and look as if residing in the real world. Many industries use AR to enhance the natural environment and offer an interactive, engaging experience to users. Some of the industries which use Augmented Reality (AR) are - gaming, health care, travel & tourism, and many more.

How Can Museums Use Augmented Reality (AR)?

AR is becoming a booming sector, especially with the advent of 5G. Indeed for museums, there are endless possibilities. Integrating AR in a museum usually depends on the type of museum, the kinds of visitors, and the museum’s dimensions. Determined by that, your museum can behold different variations of Augmented reality.

The considerable ways to use Augmented Reality in a museum are the following:

  • Audio Augmented Reality tours

Audio tours were already quite popular even before Augmented Reality had set its foot in the museums. Visitors thoroughly enjoy museum site visits when they come by audios that could explain the articles in the museum.

Imagine the audios integrated with Augmented Reality! What an experience it would be, isn’t it?

You could take advantage of augmented reality technology and turn a simple audio tour into a mesmerizing and unforgettable expedition.

An augmented reality app, provided with a smart headset, can perfectly amalgamate the information from all the detector/sensors a phone has. Building an AR application for a museum will work wonders in this case. With the help of GPS (to track a visitor’s position), Gyroscope (to track the direction a visitor looks at), and Accelerometer (to track the visitor’s movement), it is feasible to generate a 3D audio environment that can actually help the audience grasp the atmosphere of the museum and acknowledge where the sounds are coming from.

Further, you can give the users a customized experience by increasing and lowering the volume as per the visitor’s movements.

A museum integrated with audio augmented reality tours will definitely bring in more footfalls and progressively offer a highly immersive experience compared to ordinary audio tours.

  • Displaying information in a museum with Augmented Reality

An exciting concept, museums can also allow sightseers to view exhibitions and get more information on the heirloom piece using the Augmented Reality application.

Moreover, museums with proud artistic works can also display the same artwork’s digital versions to capture a visitor’s attention more profusely. Further, the 3D visual art or 3D persona could also present a narration. Interesting, right?

  • Getting Objects or Scenarios to Life With 3D in Augmented Reality

With augmented reality applications for museums, you can easily get the essence of an object to reality, and that’s what ‘Augmented Reality’ is all about. The integration of three dimensions (3D) in AR opens doors to superior displays, especially bringing objects and scenarios to life. The superimposed images will engage your audience and reportedly lead them to observe the artifact again after looking at the 3D objects! And in addition, getting the real essence of any antiquity.

For instance, imagine ‘Mona Lisa’s painting’ coming live in the Louvre Museum, Paris, France. Aahah, how pretty it would be if she could take...imagine…

  • Open-Air Museum Exploration Through Augmented Reality

Well, augmented reality is not only a thing of museums but also open-air museums, and building a museum-based application will take exploration outside of the museums!

Take cues from the mobile app industry that has also built a mobile app with perfect use of Augmented Reality.

‘Keepappy’ - a wellness app that has AR components incorporated in it. Even the mobile gaming industry is leveraging AR’s power to the fullest - ‘Pokemon Go’ is an ideal example of how AR can be used in location-based explorations.

Cerdonis Technologies LLC, a mobile app development company in Chicago quotes that “Museums can benefit the most from the potential AR beholds, integrating AR and letting creative streaks flow can wonderfully amaze the audience and bring in more footfalls”

Think of it: A 3D comrade welcoming your visitors to your heritage museum!

  • Augmented Reality Marker

AR markers have been quite popular among museums. But don’t misinterpret with QR Codes or Barcodes! AR markers are visual signals that trigger the exhibition of virtual information processed by an AR application or through a camera.

As soon as the marker on an image or painting is captured on a person’s camera, it gives out a 3D presentation of the object; the same is also intersected with audio, video, or maybe information.

Besides, the AR marker works best in museums that face connection issues or if users cannot locate via a GPS signal or on bad wifi/internet connectivity days.

Advantages of Augmented Reality in Museums

  • Augmented Reality Attracts More Visitors

When it comes to local museums, they find it hard to promote themselves outside of their local community. But with integrating augmented reality comes a plus point. 

Scanning the artifacts, detailing them through immersive content, high-class visualization with video, images, and 3D models - everything paves to the digital promotion of museums and eventually more footfalls and more growth!

  • Augmented Reality Facilitates More Footfalls of the Younger Generation

All through the years, it is seen that the millennials find a conventional museum quite off the beat. But Augmented Reality can, in turn, change that situation in your favor, indeed. We’re absolutely not lying!

It is seen that the younger generation is more hooked to their phones, and an Augmented reality-based application that especially appeals to the younger population can be unquestionably hit!

As AR applications involve active participation, younger users will be keener to explore the digitally immersed museum to ensure that your visitors grow to the fullest.

  • Augmented Reality Keeps Engagement Levels High

Good stories, when blended with augmented reality, will give a great AR feel. When interesting facts are exhibited through AR, it leads the audience to feel more connected with the original content and thus makes their visit to the museum an interesting and engaging one.

3D models pave the way to a better acknowledgment of themes, straightforward understanding of complex processes, immersive visualizing of scenarios, and interacting with the augmentations. Consequently leading to better engagement levels among the audience.

  • Augmented Reality is Interactive & Enjoyable

Museums are primarily a family place and essentially attract families with small kids. By adding a little AR fun factor, you can make their trip enjoyable. Build interactive museum applications with AR and adapt AR elements like quest games which families can play together and learn through it. With an interactive AR museum app, visitors both young and old can take part in interactive & enjoyable explorations and at the same time learn and engage in an easy peasy way. An AR play factor can capture the young audience, which can work to the museum’s advantage.

Features to Add in Augmented Reality Museum App.

  • Object & Place Tracking

You have an incredible objet d'art in your museum, and your museum is large enough to hold many visitors. Well, now what if one of your visitors has especially come to see Pablo Picasso’s ‘the old guitarist painting’. The tracking features of the AR museum application will facilitate a real-time 360° augmented reality experience of the painting, and your visitor will get to observe the picture thoroughly. 

In the same way, the object tracking feature can be applied to physical objects around the museum. The place or scene tracking feature in your AR museum application will enable your visitors to track, recognize & augment featured-packed museum halls, sites, and larger heirloom pieces.  

Place & object tracking comes as a perfect AR feature for augmenting artifacts, antique pieces, historical monuments, facades, and museum objects.

  • Image Detection

The image detection feature offers Augmented Reality (AR) museum apps to detect, hunt down, and augment 2D images. We at Cerdonis Tech use multiple target functionality that allows tracking of numerous images instantly. 

This AR feature basically assists in detecting & augmenting magazines, museum labels, brochures, ancient documents, gaming cards, or antique books.  

A fine example for image detection is the Donaghmore Famine Workhouse Museum. 

  • Augmented Reality Instant Detection

Integrating AR instant detection in the development of Augmented Reality museum applications open the way for AR apps to overlay engaging augmentations on concrete tangible surfaces, in the absence of AR markers. 

An ideal AR feature, ‘instant detection’ helps in object preliminary view, visualization, the process of designing, interaction, communication, and creating immersive scenes. 

  • Geo AR

As it is seen that an application is incomplete without prominent app development features, similarly, AR application is incomplete without Geo AR. Geo AR feature lets an AR developer integrate interactive, engaging visual content to location-based artifact markers.

Navigation, tours, communication, gaming are the result of Geo AR features. In a museum, location-based experiences work the best, and Geo AR also facilitates that. We also make sure that we make utmost use of sensor-enabled signals and provide a perfect AR museum application.

Read More: 13 Modern Mobile App Development Features and Requirements

Technology Stack for Augmented Reality Museum Application 

There are various SDKs (Software Development Kit) available to develop an AR museum app. We recommend using the technology stack provided by the specific platforms. 

For Android, mostly Google AR Core is used for integrating Augmented Reality. While for iOS, there’s an iOS AR Kit available. Using the native AR technologies provides fascinating results to AR museum applications and rules out outstanding AR features. 

When it comes to tools, Google prefers the Firebase ML kit and iOS has an Apple AR kit. The two tools, when integrated with native languages & native app designing, lay the foundation for ideal AR museum applications. There are always options for other SDKs; you can contact your software development company for the same. 

Costs & Development Time of AR Application

AR has the potential to make your museum into a digitally dynamic world. The general development time & cost varies based on your application & your museum type, as we said earlier. 

If you want to build a simple AR museum application that includes scanning & just walking around the museum, it may take up to 3 weeks (if the 3D models are ready). While the cost of a basic AR museum app without models starts at $7000*

One that requires indoor/outdoor navigation, interactive 3D models that involve a visitor finding its way to the object may necessarily need up to 1-2 months. And the cost may start at $10000*

AR museum apps that demand architectural visualization, 360 walkthroughs, overall 3D modeling, interactive user manuals, AR audio integration, and many such AR elements will take up to 2-3 months, and the cost may start with $15000*

Suppose you have anything to discuss regarding the cost & the estimations. In that case, we’re always ready to furnish you with the necessary information. 

Let’s Wrap up

The Augmented Reality app development industry is booming, and for sure, there’s more to come in this field. Compared to VR, augmented reality is still growing at a high pace. When we check from the costs front, AR is comparatively cheaper than VR, which means it can easily be integrated. 

Museums have long standing been visitors’ favorite, and it’s time to add new scopes to a museum and bring more displays to life. In addition to it, 5G is also creating more space for the Augmented Reality world. 

A recent study shows that the integration of Augmented Reality-based museum apps leads to a direct increase in visitors and the amount of time spent on museums’ grounds. Donaghmore witnessed a rise of 1.5 hours on the grounds; isn’t that interesting? 

Our world is closely becoming a digital world, and museums can use AR technology and attract audiences and get them to explore. If you have thoughts of developing an AR-based app for your museum, you can hire a remote developer to do the job. In any case, you’re stuck on your idea, then get it validated by us. 

We’ll be glad to do so :)


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"The app was unquestionably well-designed, but we had a few inputs in the navigation. Cerdonis team was on it right from the word go. I must congratulate them on their proactive approach to develop our app. Excellent work would recommend them. Cheers! "

Betina Isted

Expert business analyst