Experience Museum Exhibits in a Whole New Light

Museums have a reputation for being boring. They tend to be dimly lit, quiet, sleepy places. Like libraries without the books. Which is a shame since museums are also where some of the most wonderful objects in the world are stored. But as technology gets better the wonder and engagement that makes learning magical can be brought back into museums.

The Promise of Transparent Displays

Imagine stepping into an ancient history museum and seeing the fragments of a statue from thousands of years ago in a case. Then imagine the spaces between the fragments being filled in by a transparent display allowing you to see what the ancients did so long ago. Or imagine going to a natural history museum and browsing through the skeletons of long-dead creatures. With the touch of a button you could see muscles, organs, and skin layered over the bones. That’s the promise of transparent displays, but so far the reality hasn’t lived up to the promise.

Since the late 1990s transparent displays have existed, but they haven’t been a good fit for museums and other exhibits for a few reasons. Older transparent displays use liquid crystals which have two main problems in a museum environment. First, LCDs require a backlight to be seen and many museum pieces are too fragile to be placed under such bright lights. Second, LCDs aren’t as clear as glass which makes the objects on display harder to see.

Transparent OLED to the Rescue

With the new Planar® LookThru OLED™ the limitations of transparent LCDs are gone. The full-color, full-motion, full-HD display emits its own light. Each of the organic light-emitting diodes in the display lights up on its own meaning that there’s no need for a backlight that might harm delicate artifacts. And when it is transparent, the screen is incredibly clear allowing people to see the details of the physical pieces behind the glass while still benefitting from the engagement of the virtual content displayed on its surface. 

Museums are a cultural trust holding the treasures of history, art, and technology. That trust includes not only preserving artifacts, but connecting people to them. Transparent displays open up a world of opportunity to engage museum visitors with beautiful, meaningful content that amplifies the wonders of being in the midst of humanity’s greatest treasures. 

Get ready, because the reputation of museums is about to change.