Robotic tour guide opens Anchorage Museum to global audience
New technology is opening up the Anchorage Museum to visitors outside Alaska.
The museum tested out a new telepresence robot Wednesday. Museum expert Ethan Angelica beamed in from New York City via the Internet and took a tour.
“It’s so important that we hear each other’s stories and this is the fastest and easiest way to do it I think,” said Angelica.
Angelica controlled the robot from his end, using his keyboard — that’s more than 4,000 miles covered in a single click.
“That means we’re hopping across a cellular network, all the way across the terrestrial United States, under an ocean and then up to Alaska,” said Anchorage Museum chief digital officer Doug Adams.
Maneuvering the robot takes some practice, but for its first test run, everything goes smoothly.
“The idea is, can we bring the museum to a bigger, global audience? And I think this proves yes,” said Adams.
That means a global audience for Alaska’s stories, which are told on every wall of the museum.
“Museums are such incredible places that are filled with amazing stories and the ability to go and see those things live is spectacular but the next best thing to be able to do is to experience that in as close to real-life as possible,” said Angelica. “It will be a cool way to bring people who might not otherwise come to a museum into the space and give them the opportunity to explore these awesome, incredible collections on their own terms.”
Adams says they aren’t sure if the robot is something the general public can use, but for museum experts or artistic collaborators, it’s a way to bring a global perspective to an Alaska landmark.
“Now the whole world is open to us,” said Adams.
He says another use for the robot might be beaming in rural Alaskan communities who can’t make it to the museum but want to see the exhibits and share their own stories.
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