Chambers of Wonder 3.0, a one-of-a-kind museum game

Chambers of Wonder is the perfect day out for the whole family: educational, exciting and fun. An exhilarating storyline sweeps visitors along on an adventure, with the “Wonderkids” as their guides. Each visitor is given tasks to complete – in Dutch or English – and is guided to one of the thirteen appealing Chambers of Wonder via a tablet. These tasks vary in nature: dancing with Mondrian, guessing the value of artworks, or experiencing what it is like to be in the spotlight on the catwalk.

Eventually they arrive in the spectacular labyrinth in the centre of the exhibition, which is filled with new surprises at every twist and turn. Each player can choose their three favourite works of art in and around this maze, and design their own virtual fourteenth Chamber of Wonder. In a grand reveal saved for last moment, visitors see their design come to life - added to the walls of the labyrinth.

Familiarising children with art

The museum’s goal is to bring modern art, both contemporary and classic, to a wider audience. Chambers of Wonder is an ideal way of familiarising children from the age of 9 upwards with art, and promoting life-long appreciation. Players can set the duration of the game themselves, and the difficulty can be adjusted to the level of the players - a feature that is particularly useful for visiting school groups. Besides being fun and educational, Chambers of Wonder is also an inexpensive day out, with free admission for children under the age of 18.

Interactive quest

Many museums have discovered that if they want to reach the modern visitor, they must offer their information in a more interactive way. Chambers of Wonder meets this emerging need in every possible manner, and is a wonderful example how museums can actively engage a generation of digital natives. In addition to the immersive nature of the exhibition itself, the use of digital tablets structures the museum visit in a modern way. The children can independently pace their own learning using the tablets, and the ‘Wonderkids’ communicate with visitors by using chat messages and emoticons - a perfect fit with current smartphone culture. In contrast to a typical museum visit, where static objects are viewed in a linear tour, the Chambers of Wonder offer a coherent and compelling experience.

Creative Technology

The most important technology used in this game is the tablet, the so-called ‘Wonderguide’. During the visit this device is used as a means for the “Wonderkids’ to communicate with visitors, via a chat interface which is used to direct the visitor’s attention. Furthermore, technology is used in a key or supporting role in every single room of the exhibition. The tablets interface with iBeacons, which trigger the tablet to activate the right content whenever the visitor arrives in a new room. Additionally each room has its own specialised hardware, including multi-screen video projections, touch screens and foils, dance mats, sensors and kinect. A hardware-agnostic approach was taken to the design of the rooms, with each technology being chosen based on how well it allows visitors to engage with and direct the content.

Experience shows that the duration of a museum visit in Chambers of Wonder is a lot longer than a traditional art exhibition. Families spend an average of 2½ hours in Chambers of Wonder. On various digital platforms, visitors have praised the project for the level of interactivity. "It was the second time I came here with my daughter (11 years)..She made me promise to come back". For many years this concept – which has won a number of international awards – has offered the museum’s younger visitors something above and beyond a traditional museum visit.

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