Museums, Constructivism and Mobile

Museums moved from a didactic approach and adopted the post-modem “Museum of Ideas” and Constructivist approach partially due to a paradigm shift and also due to facing continually decreasing numbers of visitors and decreased revenues and/or funding. A response to this shift was the early adoption of mobile.

I worked on the Canadian Museum for Human Right’s mobile app, specifically, script, way finding and accessible content. It features an audio tour, a map and accessible features to support self discovery and to supplement guided tours.

Here’s some museums that have implemented Augmented Reality apps to supplement their exhibitory and tours.

ACROPOLIS 3D with Augmented Reality:

I leaned on George Hein’s Museum Research & Education Papers on the Constructivist museum in my research and strategic development for the museum.

At the museum, we started some early prototypes using augmented reality (AR). The mobile app features the use of AR from the tower using a panoramic and a 3D model of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Bentwood Box containing offerings from residential school survivors was developed.

Some of my proposals included developing AR apps for mobile to profile the history of Winnipeg and to commemorate historical events in support of grade 7-12 curriculum and for self-discovery and guided public tours. Winnipeg has many landmarks within close proximity of the museum that would allow for self-guided and guided tours.

  • The history of the Forks — Indigenous rights (First Nations and Métis), language rights (French)
  • Women’s Suffrage — women’s rights and the Constitution — 100 years, 2016 (Manitoba) and 2019 (Canada). I envisioned a play at The Burton Cummings Theatre (then The Walker Theatre) to reenact the Mock Parliament, 1914
  • Canada 150 — because all federal government institutions are mandated to commemorate Canada Day and Canada’s 150th. This could be tied in to Indigenous rights (First Nations and Métis) — 150 years, 2017
  • The Winnipeg General Strike — labour and workers rights — 100 years, 1919. I recommended piggy backing on the annual guided tours and staging an reenactment of some of the key events


Hein, G. (1995). Constructivist Learning Theory: The Museum and the Needs of People. Retrieved from:

Ioannidis, Y., Balet, O. & Pandermalis, D. (2014) Tell me a story: augmented reality technology in museums. The Guardian. Retrieved from:


About jhounslow

Soccer enthusiast, cyclist, web developer, e-learning professional, educator, husband to a graduate student, and father of four daughters.
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