Museum Tour Guide (NFC)


As with my other tutorials on here – this is designed to enable smaller, less well-resourced museums to create magical, digital experiences to rival those high-end ones.  The difference is that you are doing the work but that also means you gain the expertise to make changes yourself J

This tutorial shows you how to create your own super simple, flexible, accessible and low-budget museum guide that you can change the content on in a matter of seconds.  That’s a lot of promises so let’s see if we can live up to them!

The experience

On entering the museum small groups are provided with a small android tablet which they carry around the space.  Around the environment are a selection of small ‘tags’ which can be scanned.  In order to ‘scan’ the tablet is held against the tag briefly.  This process triggers an action on the screen – be it a photo (optionally with text), a video or an audio clip.

You’ll have seen similar tour guide experiences.  For example, the British Museum has a digital tour guide where instead of scanning a tag you type in a 3 digit number.  So in many respects this is a simpler solution.  (Incidentally – typing in numbers is great for when you’re in very high volume locations – but since you’re probably not the British Museum – this solution works pretty well.)  I’ve come across visitors who complain at having to type numbers in – so at least they will be placated.

Some good news: you don’t need access to WiFi in order for this to work.  All the content is stored on the device and the tags are fairly indestructible and waterproof.  So potentially you can run this outdoors.

I’ve broken it down into a number of steps:

  1. Getting started
  2. Getting content onto the tablet
  3. Configuring the NFC tags
  4. Testing with the App
  5. Advanced details if you’re doing this for real


Good luck and please do get in contact if you create this yourself.