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Augmented Reality Meets Social Media At The ROM

The Royal Ontario Museum’s (ROM) most popular selfie spot is its 65 million year old Tyrannosaurus Rex. To provide a more enriching experience for its visitors, the ROM has decided to make the T. rex come alive using augmented reality.

Trex at the ROM Augmented Reality

The ROM constantly seeks opportunities to increase visitor engagement. In an effort to go above and beyond the average social media campaign, the museum has incorporated the use of augmented reality into its newest initiative.

In an institution where living, breathing exhibits are limited, the ROM has utilized the use of video and computer graphics to bring the ancient and mystifying fossilized T. rex to life. The result is a terrifyingly realistic opportunity to go head-to-head with one of the world’s most dangerous predators, and more importantly, an engaging social strategy.

Augmented Reality Makes the ROM More Social

Guests are immediately invited to try the experience upon entering the second-floor exhibit. A monitor, powered by KioskPro, displaying all past encounters with the augmented version of the ROM’s popular T. rex challenges new visitors to try the experience out for themselves.

Trex comes alive at the ROM

Visitors are prompted towards two iPads, which serve as the platform for the experience. The iPads display the fossilized T. rex on screen in real time through its camera. After hitting the start button, a superimposed version of the vicious dinosaur suddenly appears on the screen.

The user is also encouraged to explore interesting facts about the late Cretaceous period carnivore; everything from its diet to how on earth it was able to use its small arms is addressed in a series of pop-up bubbles that appear around the body part in question. Once the user has had his/or her fill of dino facts they are prompted to stand in front of the iPad’s camera to pose with the T. rex (a floor marker has been strategically placed so the user doesn’t miss their mark).

Trex aumented reality at ROM

Test For Success

The ROM’s impressive use of augmented reality in their new social initiative has been largely successful. The encouragement of visitors to email their images to themselves is an excellent lead generation tactic.

About 10% of the approximately 10,000 users who have thus far engaged with the display have agreed to subscribe to the museum’s monthly newsletter. Beyond simply increasing visitor subscriptions, the campaign allows the ROM to improve the quality of photos being displayed on their social media galleries, and it has also allowed them to drum up more effective visitor engagement.

Lexi at The ROM

After the photos are shared on visitor’s social channels, Lexie, the ROM’s social media manager, approves which pictures will go live on the monitor in the exhibit through CrowdRiff. She also moderates which images will be shared on a CrowdRiff powered gallery on the ROM’s website.

Additionally, Lexie engages with the owner of the photos by sending comments and fun facts which are pre-written within the T. rex conversation group inside CrowdRiff. These exchanges have received positive feedback.

The use of augmented reality and photo sharing in the dinosaur exhibit is largely experiential. The campaign has been closely monitored by the ROM’s social media team to evaluate its use in future exhibitions.

As the ROM begins gearing up for the widely anticipated Chihuly Exhibition, which is set to open in June 2016 and is guaranteed to be a very photo driven show, we are likely to see similar interactive social campaigns being utilized. Until then, we definitely encourage you to check out the T. rex Alive experience. Even camera shy visitors will get a kick out of watching toddlers and adults alike feigning fear in front of the ROM’s most popular tenant.


The ROM is a global innovator when it comes to museums using social media effectively. Check out our customer story with the ROM to see how CrowdRiff plays a part in their success.