Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud

“Young people explain art to their friends”, is the idea behind the new Wallraf app that is about to be launched and was designed to awaken a young audience’s interest in the old masters. An array of thematic tours with texts, images, film, and sound provides unusual insights into seemingly well-known objects in the collection. The app was developed by students at the University of Cologne during a cooperation between the Institute of Media Culture & Theatre and the Friends of the Wallraf-Richartz Museum. First and foremost, this digital offer is aimed at a target audience aged 15 to 30. The app is supposed to provide these young people with a modern approach to the collection of Cologne’s oldest museum and to help win them as an audience for the Wallraf in the long term.

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In 2015, during a cooperation project between the Institut für Medienkultur und Theater (Institute of Media Culture and Theatre) at the University of Cologne and the Verein Freunde des Wallraf-Richartz-Museum und des Museum Ludwig e.V. (Association of Friends of the Wallraf-Richartz Museum and the Museum Ludwig)., Prof Dr Peter Marx (Institute of Media Culture / board member of FREUNDE) initiated the plan to develop an app for the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud together with students. To begin with, the students conducted field research by visiting various museums to test their digital offers. The advantages and disadvantages, learning contents and effects as well as the enjoyability of the respective offers were gathered in a report. At the same time, several workshops took place at the Wallraf. The idea soon came about to create modular thematic tours of the museum’s collection. These interdisciplinary tours were supposed to build a bridge between art history and the present. Subsequently, the students texted the first tours, created matching audio productions, and experimented with the technical implementation using React Native. After various tests with prototypes in the museum and a technical makeover with the programming language Unity, the app is now to be launched as “Kunstfreunde im Wallraf (Art Lovers at the Wallraf)”.