A magical augmented reality family path at the National Gallery has been transformed into a free at-home experience for Roblox, the global online platform that connects millions of people through shared experiences.
The Keeper Council is a family-friendly experience launching this summer where aspiring museum “keepers” from around the world learn about the gallery’s paintings and curate their own art collections.
Pages from The Keeper Council on Roblox
Visitors are challenged to complete their quests and rise in ranks from Apprentice to High Keeper. Throughout the experience, they will be looked after by the figure of the keeper of the paintings from the National Gallery.
Leveraging the Roblox platform builds on research for the National Gallery’s first immersive augmented reality (AR) app, The Keeper of Paintings and the Palette of Perception, available now at the gallery and with help from over 80 children was created in time for this year’s Easter holidays. This free mobile-based experience uses augmented reality technology to encourage children to explore the gallery and learn more about their paintings.
The new Keeper Council experience on Roblox was developed in collaboration with kids working with Arcade, the National Gallery and StoryFutures researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London and Brunel Design School.
The research for both projects was conducted by a dedicated Children’s Advisory Group with school children from London, Brighton, Bournemouth, Brighton and Folkestone and London who were consulted throughout and helped with the development and testing of the app and the Roblox experience.
Developed during the pandemic, the project used Roblox as a platform to develop ideas with the kids remotely. As children played and shared, the platform became an integral way for the project team to allow children to enjoy the National Gallery’s content off-site – and to bring the magic of immersive storytelling beyond the gallery’s walls and into the children’s homes bring.
PLAY THE KEEPER COUNCIL ON ROBLOX
Lawrence Chiles, Head of Digital at the National Gallery, London, says: “We are always striving to expand the opportunity to bring the gallery’s collection to the public in new and innovative ways. The fact that they can learn more about the paintings in a platform that seems familiar, fun and engaging to them is great to see. It brings the Keeper of Paintings into a World of Keepers setting that has tremendous potential, and it’s nice to have the characters in both a gallery-playing app and Roblox now. The way the project developed with the kids during the design process is also very special.”
Professor James Bennett, Director of StoryFutures at Royal Holloway, University of London, says: “By bringing together established design processes and children’s games on a 3D virtual platform like Roblox, children were able to effectively influence and help shape the Keeper Council. The result is a truly innovative experience that young people will love, whether they’ve been to the National Gallery or not.”
Jon Meggitt, Arcade Co-Founder and Lead Developer, says, “We didn’t set out to create a Roblox experience, but once we realized how fun and impactful it could be, and how well it would complement the on-site experience, we couldn’t help it. We are absolutely delighted with the result and are grateful to the gallery for once again showing how progressive and pioneering they are by allowing us to set this new benchmark in cultural engagement with them. We can’t wait for families to meet Keeper Council and play!’
dr Vanja Garaj, Director of Research at Brunel Design School, Brunel University London, says: “Bringing the masterpieces from the National Gallery into a Roblox experience is a truly innovative way to enable the youngest audience to learn about art history and at the same time having fun playing the game. I am delighted that our joint R&D project with the National Gallery is delivering such a bold immersive learning experience.’
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