The next time you’re about to visit a museum, do yourself a favor and drop in on your favorite app store first. Although this article is not about augmented reality we believe that museum guides of this magnitude are a great development for the mobile industry. We are already working on indoor museum features right now so it’s just a matter of time before we will bring these concepts to your local museum. Just imagine transporting yourself to the atelier of Picasso or Mondriaan when looking at one of their sketches and paintings. We already did a great AR project with Stedelijk Museum ARTours. Have a look at the blogpost over here.
The Museum of Modern Art app puts information at visitors’ fingertips. The American Museum of Natural History app points the way to an attraction.
Most institutions have not yet created a mobile app, but as a group, museums are headed in that direction. In the last few months, free apps were released by the Museum of Modern Art and the American Museum of Natural History, in New York; the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (which also has an Android app).
I recently tested the newest museum apps for New York. While they take distinctly different approaches, they demonstrate the vast potential for technology to help people make the most of a museum visit.
They can also point to a restroom in a hurry.
The Museum of Natural History Explorer, which arrived in July, features a navigation system that, while flawed, helps users find exhibits and museum facilities more easily than with a printed map.
While visiting the museum with my wife and two children, for instance, we knew we couldn’t tackle the entire building in a few hours, so we opened the Tours section of the app and chose the Highlights Tour from among the four itineraries listed. (We could have also found specific exhibits in a nicely arranged directory.)
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