If these walls could talk

Curio app

Group of people looking at display cases and wall art at the State Library of NSW Curio exhibition

The State Library of New South Wales is a large reference and research library located in the heart of Sydney’s central business district. It’s also Australia’s oldest library. First opened in 1826 for colonials who were desperate to read books, its mission has evolved in modern time to serve the needs of its diverse communities.

In 2013, the Library wanted an interactive platform that could transform the way people experienced its buildings and the extraordinary objects and little-known stories it contained. 

We partnered with the Library and technology vendors to develop Curio, a mobile experience that delivered location-aware content to visitors without disturbing the heritage building. Curio was innovative for its time, sharing interesting facts, surprising stories and multimedia about the objects and architectural features nearby to visitors as they explored the library’s buildings. 

Group of people looking at display cases and wall art at the State Library of NSW Curio exhibition

Challenge

The Library wanted to develop a smartphone application to increase its public reach and visitor engagement. Art Processors was brought on as a digital strategist to create and implement this project. Our task was to develop a mobile application for iOS and Android devices that provided rich content to visitors that focused on the 106-year-old Mitchell Library building.

Interior of the State Library of NSW
Screenshot from Curio
Screenshot from Curio
Screenshot from Curio
Screenshot from Curio

Approach

We led a research consortium that involved of representatives from the Library, Samsung Electronics, and HP. The latter two collaborators were responsible for providing hardware and offering specialist technical assistance for the project. We conducted a study with Library staff and visitors to look at ways visitors could connect further with the Library's collection and history via a mobile app. The research informed the development of Curio and its interactive content.

Woman scanning wall art with mobile device at Curio exhibition at the State Library of  SW

 

The innovative mobile interface knows where you are inside the State Library and intuitively delivers interesting facts, surprising stories and multimedia about the objects and architectural features around you.

– Chris Griffith,
   Journalist, The Australian


Solution

Drawing on the location-based technologies we had developed for the Museum of Old and New Art, our technological solution delivered rich interpretive materials about the building and collection, all without the use of traditional printed signage or permanent structural changes to the heritage-listed building. Curio was location-aware, ensuring facts, stories and multimedia content about nearby objects and features of the building were instantly made available to visitors. The app pushed the visitor experience to new heights, allowing visitors to rate objects on site, play back their visit at home at home, and share their favourite objects on social media.