Museum Experience Tracking Using the Heroku Platform

Paul Cappaert, Alex Redei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Science museums with hands-on and interactive exhibits are on the rise. As museums grow, the need arises to have an online platform to allow visitors to continue their experience beyond a day visit. In this paper, we first provide a brief survey of techniques for building scalable cloud native software frameworks. In order to achieve low cost and persist user data, we built a Django application using Heroku and PostgreSQL. This platform can be scaled horizontally on-demand to handle highly variant user traffic for augmenting the museum experience. With a focus on educational experiences, a participant's progress on activities at the museum are saved through an API we built and can be viewed on a website. Different activities at the museum generate data for the API which can be viewed anywhere. Simulated data was loaded into our framework to validate the efficacy of our solution. Future testing is outlined in collaboration with the Fleischmann Planetarium through a trial experiment with museum visitors.<br><br>Interactive museum exhibits provide a way to engage students minds in a way that is often difficult in the traditional classroom environment. The opportunity for students to visit museums, however, is inherently limited. One way to expand the experience beyond a single day visit is to create an online platform where students can see a summary of what they have accomplished in museum activities. In this paper we outline how we have built a prototype of a cloud based system to track data from digital museum exhibits. In order to build a flexible and scalable platform we used the Django web framework hosted on Heroku. Our system can be scaled out horizontally to meet changing traffic demands. User data is saved from museum exhibits to a flexible API. Users can view their results through the website while their privacy is also protected. We have tested this system with simulated data and using a game built on the unity platform designed to be run on a flight simulator. Future testing will include large groups of students with various backgrounds at the Fleischmann Planetarium.<br><br>
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12
StatePublished - Jan 2021


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