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Bloomberg Gives $17 Million for Museums to Go Digital

Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

Going to the museum with your kids isn’t about standing there staring at exhibits or portraits nowadays. Bloomberg Philanthropies is giving $17 million to expand digital opportunities for museum-goers, especially the younger generation. The Brooklyn Museum will allow visitors to ask questions via apps, and the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum will enable those who see their displays to save designs and improve on them anywhere.

“Each of the institutions we are supporting is using technology in different ways to engage, educate and immerse their visitors. And make their world-class resources available to a greater number of people, more of the time, ” said Michael Bloomberg. Since 1999, Bloomberg Philanthropies has given $83 million in arts funding, and plans to increase this amount.

The question and answer aspect of the museum apps allows staff to direct a visitor to artwork nearby. Some museums will have iPads on hand, so those who come to the museum don’t need to bring their own devices. The Natural History Museum can give information before the visitors arrive, and follow-up with questions after they leave.

The Cooper-Hewlitt Design Museum, which will open its doors after 3 years of renovation, will allow those who visit the museum to use a virtual pen to make their own designs. Jake Barton, whose company, Local Projects, is in charge of the renovation says, “We’re handing you a pen and we’re saying, ‘Draw on the walls.”

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