New digital application enhances visitors’ museum experience


The new HeritageApp aims to add a new, interactive dimension to the experience of visiting museums and heritage locations in Flanders

Audio Guide 2.0

Developed by Faro, the government of Flanders’ heritage agency, and the Swiss company Vidinoti, the ErfgoedApp (HeritageApp) may soon make audio guides look like relics from the past. With the ErfgoedApp, additional information about artworks and locations in front of visitors is now just a quick scan away.

At the app’s launch in Antwerp’s M HKA museum, eyes of the attendees were, understandably, glued to their smartphones and tablet. As part of the demonstration, they watched videos, listened to audio fragments, played games, examined pictures and read information about the Turkish artist Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin related to a M HKA exhibition.

Flemish culture minister Sven Gatz, also present, emphasised that “the ErfgoedApp is the first of its kind”.

English version coming

The app is partly based on Apple’s iBeacon technology, which relies on small Bluetooth transmitters to automatically send information to the app when users with a smartphone or tablet walk past. “Many museums are experimenting with this, but Flanders is the first to introduce such an ambitious app,” explains project leader Bram Wiercx.

Visitors can also access information by using the ErfgoedApp to scan objects and paintings themselves. For now, the app only offers information about exhibitions at M HKA and the Museum of Industrial Heritage and Textiles in Ghent. “But via workshops, we are training heritage sector staff to integrate the app into their operations all over Flanders,” says Wiercx.

He hopes the app might also be used to make heritage events, like historical parades, more interactive in the future. The ErfgoedApp is currently only available in Dutch, but versions in English, French and German will be released over the next few months.

Photo: Flemish culture minister Sven Gatz (right) and other attendees at the ErfgoedApp launch