The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Verizon launch new AR app experience, Replica
Aug 2, 2023
NEW YORK, US – The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Verizon have launched a first-of-its-kind experience at the Museum, Replica, that allows visitors at The Met to scan artwork and bring elements of the works digitally into the global immersive platform Roblox through augmented reality (AR).
Beginning August 2, users can download the Replica app, and starting August 3, visitors to The Met can access the in-app map to guide them to artworks around the Museum, learn about different works of art, and digitally collect unique pieces for free—like a Japanese suit of armour from early 14th–early 15th century or Vincent van Gogh’s straw hat from his iconic Self-Portrait of 1887—for their Roblox avatar.
Each wearable piece in Replica was inspired by art from across The Met’s vast collection of 1.5 million objects; the 37 selected artworks are drawn from objects on view across more than 30 galleries spanning nine curatorial areas, including the American Wing, Egyptian Art, European Paintings, and Asian Art. Highlights include Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat (1887); Statuette of Anubis (332–30 B.C.); Perseus with the Head of Medusa (1804–6); Prince Holding a Falcon (ca. 1820); Marble capital and finial in the form of a Sphinx (ca. 530 B.C.); Reaching Jaguar (1906–7; cast 1926); Vase with Rabbits (late 16th century); Helmet (Zukinnari Kabuto) (16th century); and Armour of Henry II, King of France (ca. 1555).
The Replica app can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android devices.
"This groundbreaking app brings artwork from The Met's illustrious collection into the virtual realm of Roblox, transforming the way visitors engage with art and crafting a captivating, fun, and truly unique journey through the Museum," said Max Hollein, The Met's Marina Kellen French Director and CEO. "Replica is a testament to The Met’s ambitious exploration of educational initiatives that inspire playful connections with art in the Museum as well as in the digital realm."
“In partnership with The Met, we created Replica as an experience to connect people to art in a new and culturally relevant way,” said Kristin McHugh, SVP of Marketing and Creative at Verizon. “From The Met Unframed to this exciting launch of Replica, our technology can help bridge gaming and art, creating new possibilities for art education.”
Once inside the app, visitors can follow fun and accessible clues that appear on the digital map, leading to various galleries and works throughout the Museum. After the artworks are scanned in real life, each object is transformed into a collectible replica and can be transferred to the Roblox platform. These objects will then appear in the user’s inventory for their avatar to use as items and accessories.
On Roblox, users can experience a virtual version of The Met’s iconic facade on New York City’s Fifth Avenue and other renowned spaces, like the Great Hall and Great Hall staircase. Each Replica item is accompanied by information and details about the object and its history. Users are invited to create pairings of items and feature their selections in museum-style display cases—which can then be upvoted—and to snap pictures in four photo booth spaces inspired by The Met's collections of art from ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt, as well as European Paintings and the beloved print The Great Wave (ca. 1830–32) by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai.
Created and designed by the multidisciplinary company UNIT9 and Verizon in partnership with Roblox, the strategy and production company Ode to Joy, and The Met, whose digital, educational, and curatorial teams provided rich content and expertise, Replica was built as a user-friendly and engaging experience for children and young adults. The app features strong visuals, clues, and short, digestible educational moments to help users along their journey. In an impressive feat of 3D geometry, the Roblox experience contains a Met-inspired virtual version of the Museum itself, where users can explore the Museum in their newly acquired avatar items. Users can find these items in perpetuity in their Roblox inventory, bringing their favourite Met pieces wherever they go.
Replica will be featured on The Met’s website as well as on social media using the hashtag #TheMetReplica.