Visitor listening to audio guide at the Hermitage exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW.

The Art Gallery of NSW needed a museum audio guide that complemented the magnitude of its ground-breaking Masters of Modern Art exhibition, which showcased 65 modern masterpieces from the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia.

Having partnered previously with the AGNSW to provide a scalable audio delivery platform and immersive gallery audio guide, we worked closely with their curatorial and digital engagement teams to create the Masters Audio Guide. This location-aware audio tour blended expert storytelling with an original exhibition score.

Via the custom app, visitors could listen to the narration or enjoy the music, with the soundtrack changing seamlessly from room to room, punctuating the exhibition’s different themes and styles.

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Challenge

How might sound help audiences understand the works of one of the most striking progressive movements in the history of modern art? The AGNSW wanted an immersive audio experience that could elevate the stories behind the Hermitage works while guiding visitors through the exhibition. The tour was to be delivered via museum-owned mobile devices, but also needed to work as a standalone app visitors could download.

Approach

Curatorial workshops and consultations established the aesthetic and technical parameters for the exhibition, making for a smooth workflow within tight timeframes. Commissioned musicians composed and recorded an emotive musical landscape, producing tracks for each section of the show along with underlying music for each of the 12 narrative audio stops. Curator Jackie Dunn added narrative. We achieved all of this in tandem with building the customised Masters Audio Guide app.

 

Solution

The Gallery wanted visual simplicity, beauty and technical ease. We delivered an evocative museum audio experience that was accessible and location-aware. Gallery visitors could enjoy the guide via the Masters Audio Guide app on museum-owned mobile devices or downloaded as a standalone app from the Apple App Store to their device..

Impact
83 % of visitors listened to all 12 of the audio tracks
62 Minutes Average time visitors spent listening to the audio experience while wandering the exhibition.
701 Sessions That used the Masters Audio Guide on the exhibition’s busiest day.