“This AR project is an easily used and accessible way to educate visitors on location. Great use of AR.” —Andre Elijah
“Overlapping a real-world sculpture with virtual paint is a great use of augmented reality technology to recontextualize ancient history.” —Matt von Trott
Overview: For a groundbreaking exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York, Philadelphia-based design firm Bluecadet designed and developed Chroma AR, a web-based AR tool that lets users get up close and personal with a 2,500-year-old sphinx. Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color exhibits Greek and Roman sculptures as they originally appeared: brightly painted with vibrant colors and complex patterns. Bluecadet’s AR tool offers visitors of all ages and abilities a new perspective on the ancient statues in The Met’s collection.
Chroma AR includes four 3-D models and fifteen contextual images, a scavenger hunt on a 3-D model that explains researchers’ methods, and
a selfie mode.
The 3-D model viewer, accessible UI options and full transcripts mean that all users can access the app—in the museum or from home.
The experience took four months to produce with the core Bluecadet team of five and the core client team of eight supported by numerous colleagues across the agency and museum.
Comments by Bluecadet:
What are some special interactive features of Chroma AR? “For years, one of the major impediments to widespread AR adoption has been the need for a native app. Forcing users to navigate to an app store and download an app before engaging with any content added extra steps and significant friction to the process. Using the WebAR toolkit 8th Wall, we provided a high-quality AR experience within the mobile browser. This means that users can quickly and easily view refined models without hassle.”
How did you ensure a satisfying user experience? “We led qualitative and quantitative testing to assess how users understood the onboarding and navigation, whether learning goals were met, and, most importantly, whether they enjoyed the experience. This led to small tweaks to improve usability but also confirmed that the app was both delightful and educational.”
How did you arrive at the stories you told? “The bright colors of the reconstructions might seem fantastical at first, but the ancient world was colorful and maximalist. We wanted users to understand that each color was identified through advanced scientific and/or art-historical research. The information needed to be approachable for those who might be alienated by overly technical language while still accurate and informative for scientists. In collaboration with The Met’s teams, we considered each word carefully to make sure it added to the experience.”