The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Verizon are rolling out Replica, a first-of-its-kind AR app experience. On August 1st, the two organizations announced the platform, which allows visitors at The Met to scan artwork and bring digital elements into the Roblox platform. Downloads for Replica began on August 2nd, with visitor access opening the next day.
Roblox is an online gaming platform that allows users to program their own games and play games created by other users, and Replica uses it to bring art and technology closer together than ever. Replica is intended to give children and young adults a user-friendly and engaging experience and was created by UNIT9, Ode to Joy, Roblox, Verizon, and The Met.
The app allows visitors at The Met to view the in-app map of the museum, learn about different artworks, and digitally collect pieces for free for their Roblox avatar. These pieces include unique wearable objects for Roblox avatars, including Vincent van Gogh’s straw hat from “Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat” (1887).
“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.”
The digitally wearable pieces that Replica allows users to collect are inspired by The Met’s massive collection of 1.5 million objects. The app selected 37 artworks on view from across 30 galleries in nine curatorial areas, including the American Wing, Egyptian Art, European Paintings, and Asian Art.
“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.”
Replica allows users to engage with The Met’s artworks through fun and accessible clues on the digital map, which leads to various galleries and works throughout the museum. Once users scan the work in real life, it 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 accessories and items in the game. Once saved to Roblox, these items can be paired and featured in museum-style display cases. Users can view each other’s display cases, and vote for their favorite.
Further, Replica allows users to experience a virtual version of The Met’s iconic spaces, including New York City’s Fifth Avenue facade, the Great Hall, and the Great Hall staircase. This excitement is continued on the app, where users will see a virtual version of the museum itself, allowing avatars to explore the museum with their new items.
Replica also brings excitement to real life because the app encourages users to take pictures in four photo booth spaces, which are inspired by The Met’s collections from ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt, the museum’s European Paintings, and Katsushika Hokusai’s beloved print The Great Wave.