MuseumQuest uses gamification to preserve museums’ relevance to next generation

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By Audrey Ingram

 

MuseumQuest, a mobile app that works to gamify the museum-going experience, is designed to “help museums preserve their relevance to a younger generation in the midst of the largest communication shift in 500 years,” LifeQuest Studios founder Bob Lair said.

 

“Museums recognize that smartphones are integral to the communication of both the Millennials and the iGens, the generation born between 1996 and 2014,” Lair said. “That’s why they spend more than $3.5 billion annually to incorporate tech into their exhibits and offerings. But it’s not enough to just copy and paste the text from the exhibit into an app. These younger museum-goers want an experience.”

 

That’s where MuseumQuest comes in.

MuseumQuest pulls users into online games and competitions with classmates that require them to actually engage with the real-life museum exhibits to find answers and complete challenges.

Lair and his wife, Debi, are museum fans, and they raised their son, a member of the iGen generation, in museums. So when he blew off their suggestion to visit a museum with some friends, they were surprised and concerned.

 

So, Lair dug into the research and he discovered that “the smartphone is heralding the largest shift in communication since the printing press.” Armed with this knowledge, he teamed up with his wife, an elementary educator with 24+ years experience in the field, to build a mobile app that deployed proven educational strategies while still engaging the user. It’s the first time they’ve partnered up on one of his development projects.

 

MuseumQuest is designed to be customized for each museum. Lair estimates that between 4,000 - 5,000 of the country’s 35,000 museums would be candidates for the software, based on museum revenues and disciplines.

 

He built the first pilot quest for the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Lair said that it received rave reviews from the pilot users — including his iGen son.

 

Lair pitched MuseumQuest at Launch Dayton’s September 2019 Early Risers. He is seeking connections to museum leaders.

“We dream forward, looking at what this will mean in the future to make a living traveling to museums to help build content to help reach the next generation,” Lair said.


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