New Survey Measures Demand for VR Exhibits

National research suggests museums could grow annual attendance by 100 million visits with new and updated exhibits featuring VR and AR

Stage 2 Research today announced the 2018 Museums and Technology Survey and Report. Nearly two thirds of respondents said they wanted to see a mix of technology and hands-on interaction in future museum exhibits. Most people surveyed also believe adding new technology is the best way museums can improve old or outdated exhibits.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of survey respondents said they find more engaging experiences on their smartphone, tablet or game consoles than they do in museums. Over 50 percent said their local museums rarely or never exhibit new technology. While these numbers are somewhat discouraging, they also indicate a potential for forward-thinking museums and educational venues to grow audiences by adding new technology to their exhibit offerings.

Overall, people said they would visit museums more often if venues added virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) exhibits. Interestingly, even larger numbers of respondents said they were not sure, indicating unfamiliarity with AR and VR.

While many Americans have heard of virtual and augmented reality, most have not yet experienced these technologies first hand. In fact, the majority of respondents said they did not have an AR-capable device, even though nearly all smartphones are capable of presenting AR content.

“One of the big takeaways was just how little experience Americans have with these extraordinary new technologies,” said David Board, the survey lead. “This represents a huge opportunity for educational institutions to attract new audiences through exciting interactive exhibits.”

Corporate America is already racing towards this new reality: while home VR adoption has been slower than predicted, hundreds of new “VRcades” are popping up across the US (and abroad: Forbes reports over 3,000 in China alone). VR and AR hardware can be cumbersome for the home user, but entertainment and educational venues are providing accessible and truly immersive experiences to visitors of all ages and income levels.

Smartphones also featured strongly in users feelings about tech in museums. Nearly one third of those surveyed said they would like an app to explore museum exhibits on their smartphones. Eighteen percent said they would visit museums more often if they could use their smartphone to enhance museum exhibits.

The full survey is available free online at


The 2018 Museums and Technology Survey and Report was commissioned and produced by Stage 2 Research, the research arm of Stage 2 Studios, a multidisciplinary firm specializing in media for the education and nonprofit sectors. Survey questions were delivered over four sessions to 104, 100, 213 and 101 respondents, for a total of 518 total respondents, targeting an equal bias on gender and age demographics.


Based near Seattle, Washington, Stage 2 Studios specializes in developing science-themed apps and games, helping clients like the US Department of Education and major museums impact students across the nation, and engaging audiences worldwide. The firm also runs the Stage 2 Fund, a new outreach created to support small and independent technology and media programs.