Many museums are exploring how they might use smartphones to deliver information to visitors and to learn more about visitor practices. As New York Times critic Edward Rothstein writes in a recent article, museum apps are works in process and, in the future, may provide visitors with substantial content both at the museum and after a museum visit.
Because curators’ and museum educators’ goals and interests are often different, one challenge museums face is deciding what information is presented to visitors about works on display. Visitors may well be seeking information that does not neatly fit onto a label or in the space of a didactic panel.
I am interested in provenance and histories of collecting. Using a museum’s app, could I build a tour of works a family gave to the museum? Works that passed through a particular gallery or dealer? Works acquired in a certain year? Without an app on my phone, these tours would be possible only with advanced research (provided, of course, the information for that research is available on the museum’s website). Apps have a long way to go before I could build such a tour. But two other things need to happen first: 1) museums need to pull out that information from their paper archives and make it public, and 2) I need to buy a new phone.
MAGE SOURCE: http://gizmodo.com/5599789/american-museum-of-natural-history-explorer-app-makes-paper-museum-maps-ancient-history