Missing museum visits with friends? There's an app for that ...

·2-min read
The Curatours app will soon let users virtually visit museums and galleries with friends, classmates and family without having to travel anywhere.

With museums still closed due to covid-19, art fans in need of a culture fix can always turn to virtual visits on the internet. But these online tours can seem a little lonely when experienced solo in front of a computer screen. Now, the Curatours app is on hand to help, allowing users to virtually visit cultural institutions with the people of their choice.

"Ooooh, that's nice, no? What do you think?" All those little phrases that you might murmur to a friend while visiting a museum, gallery or historical site have vanished along with real-life visitors. While the pandemic has momentarily put paid to these hushed discussions, the makers of the Curatours app are hoping to bring them back ... digitally.

The application -- part-funded by the UK Government's innovation fund, Innovate UK -- lets the culturally curious discover the artworks and artifacts usually on show in a host of museums and cultural institutions. Users will be able to take part in virtual visits in the company of their friends, family and other Curatours users, recreating as best as possible the real-life museum experiences that they enjoyed before the pandemic. Art fans can take part in Live Tours and ask questions to the guide while looking in detail at 3D captures of artifacts and environments. They can also interact with their friends, family, classmates and other visitors.

"Going to a museum or gallery has always been a shared and sociable experience. As a result of COVID-19, we have seen the rapid adoption of technology to help us stay connected. Digital experiences have
become crucial for cultural institutions to stay open, engage their audiences and attract new
visitors. To date, virtual tours can feel like a solitary one-way experience. Curatours is our solution to
this, making the experience a social one that can be shared with anyone, anywhere in the world," explains Emma Cooper, project lead at Cooperative Innovations, in a statement.

The immersive technology studio announced that the Curatours app will launch early in 2021, and is currently in the development stage with partners including the Anne Frank House and National Trust Scotland.