Micro Folie Operations Manager Manon Neyrat gave a demonstration of how the digital museum works. (Juliette Leclerq photo)
MARIGOT--Micro Folie mobile culture kits were inaugurated at Aline Hanson School in Sandy Ground on Wednesday in the presence of Préfet Vincent Berton, Collectivité officials, Vice Recteur Harry Christophe, representatives of Direction des Actions Culturelles (DAC) and representative of Musée de la Villete in Paris Manon Neyrat, Micro Folie operational manager, who gave the introduction and explained how it all works.
Once the opening remarks were completed and the ribbon cut, attendees could enter the classroom and try out the experience at a series of iPad stations.
The arrival of the kits on the territory presents an exceptional opportunity for young people to have an entertaining, educational and immersive experience of culture from around the world from the controls of an Ipad tablet.
Of the 450 Micro Folies currently open in France and around the world, the one on St. Martin is the only one that can be moved to a different location and the first to visit a school in the city's priority districts.
The experience of this interactive immersion is possible thanks to the Ministry of Culture, designed by La Villette with the contribution of 12 exceptional founding members: Centre Pompidou, Château de Versailles, Cité de la Musique – Philharmonie de Paris, Festival d’Avignon, Institut du Monde Arabe, the Louvre, Picasso-Paris, Orsay and Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac museums, the Opéra National de Paris, the Réunion des Musées nationaux – Grand Palais, and Universcience.
At the heart of the system is the digital museum with its large screen, tablets and headsets, which is enriched each year by three to four new collections, each comprising an average of 250 to 400 masterpieces, thanks to more than 160 contributors. A “Caribbean” collection is currently being designed and should be added soon.
Some 80 works are presented on the screen, but touch-screen tablets provide access to an array of additional works, each with a full description. One can zoom in on the paintings and see minute detail such as the veil on the Mona Lisa’s hair, variations in colour, or close-ups of the gardens of Château de Versailles.
The self-guided tour allows visitors to immerse themselves as if in a real museum: following their own navigation between screen and tablet, reading the labels designed by the museum curators, discovering the secrets of the paintings, playing at putting together the puzzle of a painting or putting the excerpts of a musical work in the right order, because the tour also includes sound.
The lecturer mode, particularly well-suited to schools, allows one to organise the visit according to the age of the pupils, to comment on it, to draw lines on a work to describe each point, to make explanatory pauses, and so on.
The link between the digital museum, the other modules making up the Micro Folie and, above all, local cultural content, is the key to the success of the system. The presence of a mediator is therefore essential. Nine people from St. Martin have taken the training provided by La Villette. A first test was carried out recently. The Micro Folies Kit is not just limited to the museum; visitors
can also take advantage of virtual reality headsets to travel to the world’s most beautiful museums, a toy library and a Fab LaB designed in partnership with Arte.
An educational kit is also available to help the youngest visitors, age three and over, develop their knowledge of art. Everything has been designed to be accessible to as many people as possible, and this cultural immersion can take place in French, English and Spanish.
The Micro Folies kit is on loan from the Musée de la Villette for three years and will stay at Aline Hanson School until February 2024. It will travel to other districts on the French side according to this schedule: March to June 2024: Marie Amélie Leydet School in Marigot; September 2024 to January 2025: Cité Scolaire Robert Weinum in La Savane; February to June 2025: Clair St Maximin School in Quartier d’Orléans; and September 2025 to January 2026: Collège Roche Gravée de Moho in Quartier d’Orléans.