How National Palace Museum keeps multimedia tour content fresh for global audience

National Palace Museum
Country: Taiwan
City: Taipei and Taibao
Institution Type: Historic/Heritage
Year Founded: 1925
Content Type: Multimedia
Tour Type: Kids/Teens, Adult, Family, Access
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Client testimonial

“Together, we’ve collaborated to create a holistic tour that enables more people to experience our collection more fully. This innovation is all part of our extensive and continued drive to meet our mission of building a museum that is accessible and engaging for all.”

Hsiaote Hsu, Chief Curator of the Department of Education, Exhibition, and Information Services at the National Palace Museum

Client Profile

The National Palace Museum contains 8,000 years of Chinese art from Neolithic jade carvings to late Qing dynasty paintings and figurines. Housed in Taiwan, the permanent collection of nearly 700,000 artifacts and artworks is drawn from the holdings of China’s imperial rulers over millennia, showcasing both the country’s artistry and the rulers’ cultural contributions.

Challenge

The museum sees 5 million visitors from around the globe each year, with as many as 12,000 entering its doors every two hours. Visitors are from all over the world and as such, are very diverse. Visitors from the east typically have a basic understanding of the artwork on display, whereas visitors from the west often have little to no background of the artifacts and their significance. Additionally, the National Palace Museum welcomes guests from various age groups and ability levels.

In 2005, the tour experience at the National Palace Museum was a very basic audio tour; but, as the years progressed, and the museum gained more popularity and confidence, the tour experience needed to evolve into a more radical multimedia experience that would truly cater to all.

Solution

Throughout the years, Antenna International continuously provides progressive tour experiences for all of the National Palace Museum guests:

More than a translation

Typically, tour experiences create one tour script in the museum’s native language. From there, the tour is translated to other languages. For the National Palace Museum, however, Antenna went above a simple language translation for each guest and adhered to a ‘cultural translation’. These translations better engage the museum’s global audience. For example, native Mandarin speakers experience a tour catered to their background and existing knowledge of the history at hand. English speakers, alternatively, are given a tour that explores this, while also providing a general explanation of history and culture they may not be aware of.

Access for all

National Palace Museum is committed to providing the best possible experience for all visitors, including those with disabilities. In 2017, Antenna devised a tour for the blind and visually impaired by the use of expert consultants and visually impaired focus groups. As a result, Antenna developed a smartphone audio tour, the first of its kind in Taiwan. By listening to the views of the blind and visually impaired, the National Palace Museum has a tour that is genuinely inventive and easy to use. The guide complements the Museums range of tactile aids, including Braille maps and guidebooks, 3-D models and raised images and reproductions. Visitor comments have been very positive, and the tour has opened up the Museum’s collection to a broader audience, some of whom have not visited the museum before.

On and off-site mobile tour for next generation

When the National Palace Museum wanted to drive engagement from their younger audience, Antenna held ideation sessions to map out a new experience. The outcome was a clear list of priorities; the tour needed to be educational, incorporate gamification and deepen NPM’s global footprint. These objectives were incorporated into the production of a bespoke, interactive experience that resulted in a team-based, digital treasure hunt. Antenna also took a unique approach to translation of the tour to English. Created in Mandarin, the Antenna team’s scriptwriters and translation team yet again worked diligently to develop a culturally accessible English version of the guide. They took special care to maintain the original significance of the Mandarin while interpreting vernacular, idiomatic, and cultural nuances in a way that would appeal to an English-speaking audience, allowing the team to launch the tour worldwide for users to enjoy wherever they are. Once launched, the tour received considerably positive feedback from visitors, with many saying it provides a more fun and effective way to learn and experience the NPM collection.

Additionally, Antenna has created virtual solutions for ticketing, line management and online reservations to accommodate for the museum’s large flow of incoming guest traffic. Antenna commits to granting each guest access to the museum within their first five minutes of arriving at the building.

Outcome

The NPM is thrilled that Antenna continuously provides them with a solution to best guide and direct guests from all over the world.

Visitors also love their experience at the museum; many have shared positive reviews of their multimedia guide experience:

  • “Download the museum guide apps. It makes the tour more meaningful. The most intriguing part is the multimedia section for the Chinese painting and calligraphy. Its interactive media allows us to view the pictures in close up mode, and the multimedia makes it comes alive. Very impressive indeed.” Visitor, Singapore 2018
  • audio guides for kids were truly excellent and my son went on for hours, listening to all the entries, totally amazed!” Visitor, Shanghai 2018
  • “Sensitively curated with an outstanding audio guide that points out the artistic features and the historical-cultural context of each piece.” Visitor, Toronto 2018

Contact us to find out more about this or any of our other projects.

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About Us

We are innovative storymakers and creative technologists devoted to visitor-first experiences.

We make audio tours, mobile apps, multimedia guides, podcasts, interactives, and superior story-driven content for the museum and cultural sector.

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