Rijksmuseum SnapGuide
Since its reopening in 2013, one of the Rijksmuseum’s primary goals has been to focus on connecting collections with the audience that sees it. For the Rijksmuseum’s, the art on show conveys the stories of every inhabitant of the Netherlands and it is important that visitors experience the story for themselves. Regardless of age. Every year some 60.000+ children from the age of 12-18 are required to visit the Rijksmuseum as part of their curriculum. Yet motivating the current mobile-first school children to interact and learn about history and culture in museums is a big challenge. In many cases, students fail to see the relevance the art and history has for their lives in the 21st century. The explosive growth of technology and change in how young people use the internet means that today, there is a distance between the history on show and what young people experience on a daily basis. Further, museums today are also competing for the attention of school children with a whole host of popular online platforms, games and social media platforms. Spurred by this challenge, the Rijksmuseum set about exploring how they could change young people's’ experience in the museum. The ultimate aim was to connect today’s visual culture, with the visual culture on show at the Rijksmuseum. Over recent years it’s become clear that the booming camera culture, with its visual appeal, plays an increasingly important role in the lives of young people. Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram have all become an integrated part of young people’s social life. Alongside the rise of these visual-first platforms, influencers on these platforms have also come to play a key role for young people. In light of this, Rijksmuseum teamed up with MAAK and MediaMonks to explore how the museum could use today’s visual platforms and influencers to engage and educate young people visiting the museum. As part of the collaboration, the Rijksmuseum also wanted to ensure that the concept also matched the user habits of young people. The result of the collaboration was the SnapGuide, a web based-app that introduces art to 12-28 year olds in an new and personal way. The app features six of the Netherland’s most popular influencers who, through short video blogs, invite young people to follow them and watch as they share their impression of the work from a personal view. Rembrandt’s Night Watch and Vermeer’s Milkmaid come to life when influencer Jiami, who boasts 200,000 followers on Youtube, examines fashion and lifestyle in the Golden Age, or Mertabi, who has 370,000 followers on Youtube, gives his view on power and wealth. Singer Ronnie Flex, whose following on Instagram is over 400,000, takes a different approach by tracing his personal ancestry through the Golden Age. All of the tours available are aligned with the art and history curriculum of Dutch Secondary Schools. SnapGuide takes an innovative approach to stimulating learning by ditching lectures and books in favour of informal, interactive mobile tours. By encouraging the use of Snapchat and Instagram in the museum, and using social influencers to engage young people with art and history, the app encourages students to create their own stories and unique experiences in the museum which they can share with teachers, classmates and even family and friends. During the concept and production phase, the SnapGuide was tested on a pre-selected target audience that included students and teachers. Overall the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Students identified well with the influencers they could chose, and enjoyed the tours on offer. Alongside this, students also enjoyed the fact that they could interact with the app to create their own content and could better relate to the museum as it was more “for them”. For teachers, the increased engagement from students was the biggest plus point of the app. All of the content students produced provided learning material in the classroom, and the challenges in the influencer based app helped bridge the gap between students and collections. The impact that social influencers have on a - normally - hard to reach audience for Rijksmuseum is enormous. During the weeks prior to the launch of SnapGuide, various posts and videos of and from the social influencers about the Rijksmuseum went viral. In the history of the Rijksmuseum, never had a campaign reached so many people online and offline. A national television appearance about the SnapGuide also helped build the hype around the innovative app. The effect was instantly noticeable: within one week of the launch, 2.000 SnapGuide tours had been completed in the museum by more than 1.200 students.

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