Chroma AR

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Chroma AR

Chroma in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Project Overview

Exploring ancient Greek and Roman sculptures
in vibrant color with Augmented Reality

For a groundbreaking exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bluecadet designed and developed Chroma AR, a web-based AR tool that lets users get up close and personal with a 2500-year-old sphinx.

Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color exhibits Greek and Roman sculptures as they originally appeared: brightly painted with vibrant colors and complex patterns. Bluecadet’s AR tool offers visitors of all ages and abilities a new perspective on the ancient statues in the Met’s collection.

Project Videos and Images

Man holding app in hand

Learning From The World's Best Researchers

The Chroma AR experience begins by asking a single question: “How do we know?” Virtual “lenses” within the app offer a toolkit to better understand the reconstruction and find the answer. Users can view a comprehensive 3D AR model of the sphinx to discover new details and new stories. 


This engaging and educational scavenger hunt leads them through the same processes used by Met researchers to determine how the sculpture looked thousands of years ago: scientific analysis, art historical comparison, and, most importantly, observations with the naked eye.

Explore view, app in hand

A Richly Layered AR Experience

We developed Chroma AR as a layered experience. Casual visitors can glean key takeaways within moments, while those people willing to spend more time with the app are rewarded with powerful stories. Working closely with the Met’s world-class team of curators, educators, and exhibit designers, we designed the app to tell these stories and enrich the visitor experience. 


Chroma AR doesn’t compete with the in-person exhibition, and even turns some common pain points into memorable experiences. Bluecadet developed signage inviting visitors to explore the app while they’re waiting in line to see the exhibit.


Bringing Ancient Rome Into Modern Homes

We designed the Chroma AR interface to be enjoyed at home, at the museum, or anywhere else. Users can virtually place the sphinx anywhere in any space, viewing it as it looks today, as it looked originally, and as it was originally installed —atop a 13-foot-high pillar. 


In “Selfie” mode, users can virtually try on the sphinx’s reconstructed crown and easily snap a photo to share with friends and family.


Making Augmented Reality More Accessible

Current AR technology is inherently inaccessible. It often requires a full range of movement in a physical space — not to mention specialized and expensive equipment. That’s why Chroma AR gives users alternate ways to explore the sphinx, including an intuitive model viewer, accessible UI options, and full transcripts of all commentary.


Is it perfect? No. Is it a big step in the right direction for AR? We think so.


AR That Works Anywhere

For years, one of the major impediments to widespread AR adoption has been the need for a native app. Forcing users to navigate to an app store and download an app before engaging with any content added extra steps and significant friction to the process.


WebAR addresses this problem head-on by providing high-quality AR experiences within the mobile browser. For Chroma AR, we used 8th Wall, Niantic’s WebAR toolkit to develop our application. 8th Wall provides a modern framework for using augmented reality in any web browser — even on mobile devices. This means that users can quickly and easily view high-quality models within their physical environment.