M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, based in Vancouver, Washington, has awarded Museum of the Bible a grant of $1.5 million toward the continued development, production, purchasing, storage, care, distribution and tracking of the museum’s Digital Guide units.
“I’m very pleased and grateful to announce the award of this very generous grant by M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust,” says Cary Summers, president of Museum of the Bible. “The Digital Guide will be a breakthrough in delivering a world-class experience to all of our guests from around the world, regardless of their background or biblical knowledge. We are tremendously grateful to the Murdock Trust, and we look forward to unveiling this innovative technology to the public when Museum of the Bible opens this November.”
At over 430,000 square feet, the museum will contain an immense amount of content and would take days for guests to see everything. With millions of expected visitors representing many diverse backgrounds, education levels and languages, Museum of the Bible was in need of a solution to offer appropriate and relevant content tailored to serve each guest’s unique preferences. The Digital Guide is that solution.
A tablet-based indoor navigation system designed in-house by the museum, the Digital Guide technology will likely be the most accurate indoor positioning system in the world. With an interface similar to the step-by-step navigation of global positioning systems like Google Maps, the guide will allow users to set their tour times, interests and rendezvous points while the system intelligently navigates them through the museum.
“The technology needed for the Digital Guide just simply didn’t exist to the level that was necessary, so we decided to create it ourselves,” says Jeff Schneider, vice president of interactive systems at Museum of the Bible. “To our knowledge, this will be the first time ever that people will have the opportunity to interact with real-time, indoor navigation in a museum environment. It’s tremendously exciting to be at the forefront of this new wave of innovation.”
Available in 10 languages, the Digital Guide will provide a customized running commentary that educates guests while efficiently allowing them to visit popular exhibits, theaters and attractions at optimum times. Bringing the museum experience firmly into the twenty-first century, visual enhancements such as videos, interactive 3D objects and augmented reality will elevate the learning experience for visitors of all ages and backgrounds.
The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust was created in 1975 by the will of the late Melvin J. Murdock, who was a co-founder of Tektronix, Inc. in Beaverton, Oregon. With an original bequest of $90 million dollars, the trust is currently valued at over $1 billion and has distributed nearly $890 million through more than 6,100 projects. Grants are awarded to a wide variety of organizations, including those that serve the arts, public affairs, education, scientific research, health and medicine, human services and people with disabilities.
“As a technology innovator, our benefactor, Jack Murdock, would have loved this project, as well as the vision of Museum of the Bible, for helping all people understand the great contributions of the Bible to humankind,” said Steve Moore, executive director of M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Murdock Trust for awarding us this generous grant toward the development and production of the Digital Guide,” adds Tim Smith, chief development officer for Museum of the Bible. “Our mission, to engage all people with the Bible, is an ambitious one, and it is partners like the Murdock Trust that will enable us to reach our goal. We are honored by their faith in our organization and our museum, and we are excited by what these resources will enable us to accomplish.”