The Met has joined the Metaverse with this cool new digital activation

Your Roblox avatar can now get a whole new wardrobe, including an ancient Greek helmet, Japanese warrior armor and even Vincent van Gogh’s straw hat, courtesy of this new app created by The Met museum and Verizon. 

The free app, called Replica, allows visitors to scan certain objects at the museum, which are then turned into digital images that can be applied in the Roblox online gaming platform. The augmented reality initiative was designed as a way to attract kids to The Met, museum spokesman Kenneth Weine said, but collecting the digital items promises fun for all ages. 

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Here’s how it works

Inside the museum, 37 objects are now a part of the Replica app, and finding each one sets visitors on a scavenger hunt throughout the galleries. Objects are scattered throughout the museum in sections including Arms and Armor, The American Wing, Egyptian Art and several more. 

Once you find an object, scan it in the app on your phone, and then that item can then be applied to your Roblox character. It can be a little challenging to find the items—if you’re an adult, anyway. The kids didn’t seem to have any trouble finding object after object.

A screenshot of the Replica app showing a map of the first floor.
Photograph: Screenshot of Replica app

In my experience, the app encouraged me to deeply explore parts of the museum that I would often breeze past. For example, I wouldn’t usually spend much time in the Arms and Armor room, but Replica encouraged me to truly engage with these items and think about the people who used them.  

Each wearable piece in Replica was inspired by art from across The Met’s vast collection of 1.5 million objects. Highlights include Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat (1887); Statuette of Anubis (332–30 B.C.); Perseus with the Head of Medusa (1804–6); Prince Holding a Falcon (ca. 1820); Marble capital and finial in the form of a Sphinx (ca. 530 B.C.); Reaching Jaguar (1906–7; cast 1926); Vase with Rabbits (late 16th century); Helmet (Zukinnari Kabuto) (16th century); and Armor of Henry II, King of France (ca. 1555).

“This groundbreaking app brings artwork from The Met’s illustrious collection into the virtual realm of Roblox, transforming the way visitors engage with art and crafting a captivating, fun, and truly unique journey through the Museum,” The Met’s Director Max Hollein said in a press release. 

This is the second time the museum has worked with Verizon to create a visitor experience. Amid the pandemic, the two teamed up to create Unframed, a virtual art experience highlighting the collection at a time when in-person visits were limited. The initiatives show how “our technology can help bridge gaming and art, creating new possibilities for art education,” Kristin McHugh, Verizon’s SVP of Marketing and Creative, said in a statement. 

On Roblox, users can experience a virtual version of The Met’s iconic facade on New York City’s Fifth Avenue and other renowned spaces, like the Great Hall and Great Hall staircase. Roblox players can even display their selections in museum-style cases and snap photos in four digital photobooths inspired by The Met’s collections.  

A screenshot of the Replica app showing an avatar in a hat.
Photograph: Screenshot of the Replica app

Tips to make the most of the experience

  • First, connect your phone to The Met’s free wifi for the quickest speeds.
  • Next, find the Replica app in the app store (it’s available for iOS and Android devices), then download it for free. 
  • You’ll need to enable the app to use Bluetooth, the camera, and location services. 
  • Use the map tool to help orient yourself in the museum and read clues to find each item. 
  • When you’re close to an item, the icon will blink red on the app. 
  • Hold your camera up to the item, carefully positioning the item in the frame, then snap to scan. 
  • Finally, to apply the object in Roblox (for free!), click on the “Redeem Code” button and follow the instructions from there.

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