Revolutionizing the Museum Experience:
The Conversational Agent at MNBAQ

In a world where technology merges with art to enrich cultural experiences, Ask Mona and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) have partnered to offer a revolutionary museum adventure. Ask Mona’s conversational agent, implemented at the heart of MNBAQ, represents a new era in art interaction, combining expertise in artificial intelligence with the richness of artistic heritage.

The Collaboration between MNBAQ and Ask Mona

The Musée des Beaux-Arts de Québec, committed to a human-centered approach since 2020 to design products and services that meet the real needs of its visitors, has embarked on exploring new ways to engage its audience with its art collections. In this spirit, the museum expressed a desire to implement an innovative digital interpretation platform, offering visitors the opportunity to interact with artworks in an interactive and informative manner. This initiative is part of the broader Musée Incubator d’Innovations Muséales (IIM), launched in 2020 with a $2.9 million provincial government funding.

In this context, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Québec initiated a collaboration with our company, Ask Mona. Since 2017, we have specialized in creating conversational agents and interactive solutions to enrich visitor and employee experiences. Together, we set out to design an innovative conversational agent capable of engagingly and informatively answering visitors’ questions about artworks.

The MNBAQ Conversational Agent

The conversational agent project was born in response to three fundamental questions:

  • How to help visitors find what they like in the museum’s offerings?
  • How to facilitate their engagement with artworks?
  • How to provide them with in-depth information about the artworks that intrigue them?

The conversational agent developed by Ask Mona for the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Québec represents a significant advancement in the interaction between visitors and artworks. This innovative solution relies on a combination of artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning, enabling it to understand and interpret visitors’ questions accurately and relevantly.

The user-friendly interface of the conversational agent offers visitors an immersive and interactive experience. They can ask questions about artworks that intrigue them, such as their history, context, or technique, and receive instant and informative responses. The conversational agent is designed to provide detailed and accessible explanations tailored to each visitor’s level of knowledge, whether they are novices or art experts.

The experience is currently available for 10 artworks from the collection. Visitors can simply take a photo of the artwork and engage in the conversation experience, whether orally or in writing, thanks to speech synthesis. This innovative approach makes interaction with artworks even more accessible and engaging

Early Outcomes of the Initiative

During an exclusive visit to the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) and the Musée de la civilisation, Minister Jonatan Julien was able to explore the latest innovations implemented through the Musée Incubator d’Innovations Muséales. Among these advancements, the conversational agent captured his attention and promises to transform the way visitors interact with artworks.

Furthermore, this collaboration has been widely publicized:

  • Radio Canada: New Sensory and Technological Experiences in Quebec Museums
  • Le Journal de Québec: Quebec Reinvents the Visit to its Museums
  • Le Soleil: From Smell to Artificial Intelligence, Quebec Museums Innovate

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