Hermitage Amsterdam

Hermitage Grand Art Game

Again and again, museums find themselves confronted with one question: how do we interest and attract a young audience? The Hermitage Amsterdam decided to face this question by creating an online and live game which allows users to engage with the Hermitages' collection in a novel and fun way. In order to translate the concept from a good idea into a playable game, the Hermitage Amsterdam chose Total Design as partner for the design and development.

Gaming in the museum
Born out of this cooperation are the “Grand Art Game” and the “Grand Art Game Live”. The first is an online quiz game featuring Hermitages’ artworks, the second an extension of the game which works as a treasure hunt during on-site exhibitions at the Hermitage Amsterdam.

Since only a small percentage of the museum visitors are of the age between 15 and 24, the Hermitage engages this young audience with their collection by the gamification of looking at art. And even provides the option of playing a game at home, and thus keeping them engaged. Even in times when it is not possible to physically visit the museum. Of course, the games can be played by anyone, younger and older

The Grand Art Game – becoming a digital art collector
The Grand Art Game allows users to build their own art collections and choose a tsar as their personal avatar. With every quiz completed users can pick an artwork to have it added to their collection, and their tsar levels up while playing. The game features an internal ranking system which allows users to compare their achievements to those of other players. A special feature in the game allows the Hermitage Amsterdam to offer a free ticket to users after they collected 10 artworks. Thereby the game creates a strong pull effect towards the physical museum which incentivizes online users to become exhibition visitors.

Live in the museum
For those who are looking for a little more excitement during their museum visit, Hermitage Amsterdam decided to extend the Grand Art Game to on-site exhibitions. This extension of the game is called the Grand Art Game Live. When entering an exhibition visitors can board the game via QR codes printed on their tickets and on posters. The game experience is set up like a treasure hunt. Visitors have to find specific artworks in the exhibition, scan QR codes next to them, and complete a quiz about the respective artwork in order to collect it. The game features two difficulty levels, and multiple treasure hunts for different exhibitions can be played. Just like with the online version, the live version can be operated by Hermitage staff without requiring outside help.

Testing on site
The Total Design Lab team who designed and build both the Grand Art Game as the Live version, needed to test the Live game at the location. It does not happen often that a test location for an app is such a beautiful site! Whilst being surrounded by knights in shining armor TD Lab tested questions and the user experience of playing the Grand Art Game Live at the Hermitage Museum.

Designed to empower Hermitage Amsterdam
To ensure the museum staff can operate and maintain the game without external help it was important to develop an easy-to-use backend structure. Admin users can create new sets of quizzes, set difficulty levels, upload artworks, as well as search and edit existing quizzes. Additionally, quizzes can be uploaded in multiple languages to cater to English and Russian speaking users.

Total Design was able to translate our educational material in an original and playful way into an online game, that appeals our most difficult target group: young people. The innovative and user friendly design, gives us the freedom to apply the game in multiple ways. The cooperation with Total Design was always personal and inspiring.

— Niko Bos - Hermitage Amsterdam

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