Interactive technology strikes it big with bowling fans

Visitors at the International Bowling Museum don't shuffle quietly through the 18,000-square-foot facility in Arlington, Texas. Instead, they get a hands-on, interactive experience thanks to kiosks and digital signage located throughout the building.

"We just wanted to make the museum a little more modern," said Anna Murphy, group coordinator and gift shop manager.

The museum moved to Texas last year after calling St. Louis home for 25 years. The technology was also a new addition.

"We don't have as much as space here, so we needed to utilize the space we have," Murphy said. "It's more user friendly and easier to find the data that you are wanting."

The museum covers the history of the sport as well as the more modern era of bowling, including youth, international, pro and the science of bowling. The youth bowling section includes the Bowlopolis video game and trivia-quiz Coaches' Corner, which provides computer-assistant coaching advice. The international section has five touchscreens that ask visitors to find "Where in the World is Carmen Salvino?" asking geography questions that pertain to bowling around the world.

The science of bowling includes hands-on exhibits that describe how pins and bowling balls are made. Visitors can also play a few frames of duckpin bowling on a fully-functioning virtual bowling lane.

The Hall of Fame is the last stop in the museum, where going digital simplified access to information, Murphy said. Portraits of Hall of Fame inductees had previously been hung on walls throughout the museum. However, they're now listed in a database, which allow visitors to access their info. Three large screens above the Hall of Fame kiosk also feature revolving portraits of inductees and show videos of them bowling.

The interactive technology seems to keep people in the museum longer, Murphy said.

"They stay longer because they become involved with the exhibits," she said. "They can stay as long as they want to and play."

Click here for a slideshow of photos featuring the exhibits.

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