The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Verizon have unveiled Replica, a pioneering application that merges art's physical and digital realms. This innovative tool allows museum visitors to scan artwork and transport elements of these works into the immersive platform Roblox using augmented reality (A.R.).
The Replica app, available for free download on iOS and Android devices, offers a unique and engaging journey through the Museum. Visitors are guided to various artworks via an in-app map, where they can learn about different pieces and digitally collect unique items. Once scanned, these items transform into collectible replicas that can be used as accessories for their Roblox avatar.
The app features 37 selected artworks from The Met's vast collection of 1.5 million objects, spanning nine curatorial areas. Notable pieces include Van Gogh's Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat, a Statuette of Anubis from 332–30 B.C., and the Armor of Henry II, King of France, from around 1555.
In the virtual world of Roblox, users can explore a digital rendition of The Met's iconic facade on New York City's Fifth Avenue, the Great Hall, and other renowned spaces. Each digital item contains detailed information about the object and its history, encouraging users to create museum-style displays.
Replica was developed by UNIT9 and Verizon in collaboration with Roblox, Ode to Joy, and The Met. The app is designed to be user-friendly and engaging, with visuals, clues, and educational moments to guide users on their journey. It also includes a virtual version of the Museum, where users can explore their newly acquired avatar items.
The launch of Replica marks a significant step in the Museum's digital transformation, offering a new, interactive way for visitors to engage with art. The initiative will be promoted on The Met's website and social media under the hashtag #TheMetReplica.