Augmented reality coming to the Brookings Children’s Museum


he appearance of the world around you, and it’s coming to Brookings. 

Made widely popular by the mobile game Pokémon Go, augmented reality has taken the world by storm. In the case of the Brookings Children’s Museum, the augmented reality exhibit will bring the users into an open space and allow them to control whatever may appear on the wall in front of them. 

Children’s Museum Associate Director Mark Mogard said the software could be switched out, with experiences ranging from painting with mediums such as oil paint or colored pencil, to even playing music by touching a certain spot on the wall.

“It may be music for a while,” Mogard said. “Tying into what we offer in our sensations exhibit and in our imagine house exhibit.”

One reason the museum was interested in AR is its flexibility and how it makes changing up exhibits easier. 

“I think the purpose, from our end, was to take something that’s already happening in the museum and accentuate that in a way that’s unique for our guests,” Mogard said. “To give them a different experience.”

The AR exhibit will be set up in the museum’s ‘traveling exhibit’ space and is being developed by local Brookings software developer Mantis Digital Arts. 

Mogard is optimistic about the possibilities of AR, but he is aware of the limitations as well. Mainly, that technology, at this point, won’t be able to replace physical learning entirely. 

According to Hillcrest Elementary School Principal Brad Olinger, technology is used in classrooms often. iPads and laptops are used to study subjects that are not immediately available to students, but it is not always what they want. 

“They want to have that hands-on experience as well.” Olinger said. 

The exhibit is the only augmented reality technology the museum plans to implement, according to Mogard, with the rest of the museum remaining dedicated to physical exhibits. 

There is no set opening date for the exhibit.