Cherry Thian

Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor and His LegacyIn June 2011, the Asian Civilisations Museum launched an integrated iPhone app—the world’s first museum app to combine augmented reality (AR), location-based gaming, and interactive features—in its special exhibition Terracotta Warriors: The First Emperor and His Legacy. Specially designed to tell a story that complements the content and flow of the exhibition in seven interactive chapters, each chapter highlights at least one object in the exhibition and attempts to engage visitors on a more personal level. As the story progresses, visitors respond to image markers that launch augmented reality and gaming experiences that breathe life into the objects.

The launch of this app was a pilot exercise, and it presented us with an opportunity to study the adoption of technology by our visitors. The integration of several interactive features in the app also allowed us to look at behaviour and interactions of users. In this session, we will explore the wider issues raised by the findings, and relates lessons learned from unforeseen challenges along the way.


Cherry ThianCherry is a manager in the Education department of the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore. Her passion is using design to create learning experience for museum visitors of different ages.

Cherry believes that design has the power to change the world, either from a destructive to a constructive one, or vice versa. She aspires to educate through design, with its propensity for instigation of constructive and positive social changes. Her postgraduate studies in College of Fine Arts (University of New South Wales) focused on interactive design through installation that evokes emotions leading to socio-psychological changes among individuals and community.

Working at a museum with supportive and embracing nature gives ground to experiment with technology to present historical and cultural contents and to redefine how our visitors interact and learn in the museum setting, especially among the younger audience. She aims to seek novel approaches for understanding people’s experiences in museums and galleries, and continually exploring creative ways of conceptualizing the museum experience in light of the presence of interactive technologies. One of her projects is the Terracotta Warriors app which combines augmented reality (AR), location-based gaming, and interactive features. This app attracted more than 80 pieces of coverage across broadcast, print and online media.

She is also working to encourage active participation of young people in youth development projects and activities in arts, social and cultural engagement. It is hoped that exciting new ideas and joint projects can be developed to inspire a new generation of young volunteers.

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