Cuseum was recently featured in Wired, a leading technology news publication, in an article that explores the growing role of augmented reality in museums, and how it can be used to engage visitors and drive creativity. Additionally, the use of AR in museums illustrates how technology has the potential to “shake up” the museum world, and bring institutions into the digital age in a way that will speak to a larger audience.
“Last month, Brendan Ciecko and Dan Sullivan, respectively [Cuseum’s] CEO and head of partnerships and growth, used ARKit to enhance a museum that they had long loved: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a staple of the Boston arts scene. That museum is renowned in part because of what isn’t on display: In 1990, thieves stole 13 works of art valued at $500 million, and to date, the orchestrators of the heist have not been caught. Cuseum had been experimenting with AR for a while, helping the Pérez Art Museum Miami launch its first-ever AR exhibition last winter with funding from the Knight Foundation. In early 2018 when Apple released an ARKit update that made it easier to work with vertical surfaces, Ciecko and Sullivan were inspired. They could use AR, they thought, to “restore” the missing paintings to their frames.
It just so happened that ARKit’s new vertical capabilities coincided nearly perfectly with the 28th anniversary of the infamous heist. And so Ciecko and Sullivan scrambled to put together a functional app that would virtually return the stolen works by March 18. They spent hours in the gallery, and, on the weekend of the heist’s anniversary, they published a website featuring previews of the app and detailing how they went about “hacking the heist.”