Surprise factor (creativity + originality):
Curatours offers museums, galleries and venues a new way to showcase, explore and experiment with collections and artefacts in a shared digital space.
• Imagine being able to explore your favourite museums and be allowed to go beyond the velvet rope.
• Picking up a thousand-year-old fossil with no restrictions.
• Meeting friends and family in your favourite venues, without the worry and cost of travel.
Curatours is breaking down barriers and creating innovative and exciting opportunities.
Curatours is designed to work across a range of technologies, from smartphones, to tablets, desktop and virtual reality headsets, making it as accessible as possible to audiences.
Thanks to the numerous technologies developed by Cooperative Innovations (the studio behind Curatours) in the past four years, the Curatours app can run on many different types of devices, with all users enjoying the same virtual space and similar experiences.
One area of focus for us was developing Curatours for wireless VR headsets because we have identified that there is not much content available from the cultural sector.
Additionally, we have built a version for desktop and mobile devices to increase accessibility.
Purpose factor (effectiveness + problem-solving):
The Curatours Platform was announced at the end of 2020, during the global pandemic, Curatours was created as a platform for social cultural virtual tours. The team believes that immersive technology is the future of work and play, so Curatours is the result of trying to remove barriers and help people work and come together.
Disruptive factor (originality + ambition):
Other than being in a pandemic, museums and galleries face a variety of challenges.
Not only the environmental impact of the organisation, but the environmental cost of travel for visitors and staff.
Using Curatours, venues can cut down some of their environmental impact as the events take place in a virtual space. Visitors and staff can join from their homes.
Ambition & Quality
The challenge of catching and holding attention, delivering delight and exceeding expectations.
Curatours is a virtual environment where the traditional rules no longer apply, visitors can pick up dinosaur bones and go up close with ancient artefacts that would traditionally be sealed in glass cases.
The space to build with is practically limitless, providing opportunities for new exhibitions, galleries and tours that would not be possible when you’re limited by floorspace in a building.
Inclusivity & relevance
Finding ways to reach audiences who may be otherwise excluded from museum experiences.
There are no stairs or small corridors in Curatours, everywhere can be accessed. By providing Curatours on desktop, mobile and VR headsets, the platform is available to anyone who can access one of these.
By being virtual, there are no more prohibitive travel costs that may have prevented a family from travelling to visit a museum or gallery.
Finding & sustaining funding, and other sources of income.
Curatours provides a new funding stream for venues as they sell tickets for guided virtual tours, or to unlock new content and areas of the museum.
Cross-sectoral impact and/or opportunity for global collaboration:
Last year we collaborated with Storyfutures Academy on their placement programme and we took on some interns, one of which was a student named Leo. During Leo’s time with us, he came up with the idea for the “museum of plastic”, we thought it was a great idea and we applied to the British Council to help fund it as part of British Council’s The Climate Connection – which is taking place in the run-up to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).
Thanks to the funding, we have been able to extend Leo’s time with Cooperative Innovations & Curatours. He is now the producer for the Museum of Plastic project.
For the Museum of Plastic, we have partnered with the University of Hull’s Plastics Collaboratory and two South African organisations; Greenpop (environment project) and Baz-Art (an art project).
Since announcing Curatours we have had great interest in the platform and to help show our traction we have signed deals with Anne Frank House, Hill House, Mrs Smith’s Cottage, Peckover House / Common Ground and Museum of Plastic 2121.
We are also in conversations with V&A, National Gallery, IPW, Historic Royal Palaces, International Slavery Museum, Royal Armouries, National Science and Media Museum, AMARNA:3D, Munch, Halifax Citadel and The Finnish Museum Association. We are excited to see where these conversations go in the future.