Instagram makes its augmented reality effects a bit more educational. The app is partnering with three museums in the United States and France to import AR versions of their exhibits into its camera. The company has teamed up with the Smithsonian, the Palace of Versailles and the Grand Palais, which have added a handful of their museum exhibits to Instagram’s line of AR effects.
The feature, which users can access from the Effects tab of each museum’s Instagram profile, allows users to see museum content up close through the in-app camera. For example, the Smithsonian added an AR version of the Space Shuttle Discovery and the Triceratops skeleton.
The Effects are part of Instagram’s Spark AR platform, which has also enabled beauty brands to create user-created AR trial experiences and viral filters. While AR exhibits provide a way for people to access museum content when they would otherwise be stuck at home during the pandemic, Instagram notes that the feature also allows users to examine exhibits much closer than they are. ‘they wouldn’t do with an in-person visit since you can use Instagram cameras to zoom in on different angles of each item.
Instagram isn’t the first app to try to bring the museum experience to users’ homes with AR. Earlier this year, Google’s Arts & Culture app partnered with the Natural History Museum in London and the State Darwin Museum in Moscow to add AR models of prehistoric creatures to its app. And Snapchat just announced a collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to create AR monuments with artists.
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