Whether you’re an artist, art history buff, student, professor, or just an interested viewer, museums have long been both fascinating and interesting attractions for all alike. Museums have the ability to transport us through time, view the world through different decades, and invoke emotions that we possibly didn’t even know we could feel. But what if we had the ability to enjoy all the luxuries and amenities that museums can provide us in the comfort of our own homes, or say, on the train to work? Well, with the majority of mobile users owning and using smart phones, the world’s biggest and most renowned museums have taken notice and developed their own mobile apps. Now museum visitors can check up on their favorite museums, exhibits, and events all through their mobile phone.
These museum apps provide visitors information ranging from details on upcoming exhibitions, screenings, talks, daily events, Facebook and Twitter updates, maps, virtual guided tours and more. These apps are useful and educational, and allow users to enjoy many of the delights museums provide whether they are thousands of miles away, or right in the museum itself. Here we are going to outline a few museum apps that we think are noteworthy and worth looking into for the casual viewer and the collector alike.
The MoMA App: $2.99. Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York has developed its own app to find out what’s going on at the Museum, how to plan a visit, the ability to search through thousands of works, take tours, and also learn about artists and art history terms. The MoMA app also serves as an audio guide for special exhibitions and famous pieces, while the museum also creates apps for special exhibits throughout the year.
The Louvre App: Musée du Louvre. Free. Version 1.4, last updated March 15, 2012. Available in English, French, and Japanese. With the Louvre App you can discover and explore the Paris museum and up to 100 different Louvre masterpieces. You can scroll through the famous Greek sculptures, the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Bosch, Titian, Holbein & many, many more. You can also share your favorites with your friends through Facebook or email and even assign some of the museum’s most beautiful visuals to friends in your contact book. We highly recommend the Louvre App, and the HD version for the iPad will keep you entranced for hours.
The British Museum App: Free. Version 1.01. Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and Android. Now you can visit London’s most notorious attraction on your smart phone device. With over 800 objects and collections to choose from, the British Museum app gives you an educational experience where each image is tagged with a description, the location on the map, and tags to related websites and links. We like that this app does not require WiFi as all the information is preloaded for you upon download.
The Hermitage Museum: Free. App by the State Hermitage Museum. Version 2.56, last updated March 16, 2013. Available in English and Russian. With the Hermitage Museum App you can tour one of the largest museums in the world, and take virtual tours, art history course, and even go on thematic excursions. You can also save particular images you like, send e-cards of artwork to friends or family, and keep up to date about museum news and content.
The American Museum of Natural History: Free. Version 1.2.1, last updated on March 20, 2013. Available for iPhone and iPad. This museum app allows you to chart your own course at the American Musuem of Natural History in New York City that creates a personal tour guide for you through the museum’s ornate halls and exhibits. Explore the start of the universe through the Industrial Revolution and more. The American Museum of Natural History has already launched six apps since 2010, and due to the large plethora of objects the museum owns (over 32 million specimens and collections), their integrated apps provide users a great service and experience in addition to what is available at the museum itself.
The Smithsonian, Washington DC : Free. Available for both iPhone and Android. Version 2.0.4, last updated January 3, 2013. This museum app was named one of the Sunday Times Top 500 Apps of 2012, and is sure not to disappoint as it is a one stop shop for all the Smithsonian museums in DC. You can explore each of the museum’s hours of operation, costs, calendar, collections, events, and an interactive map and user guide to match. The only thing lacking is the museum list on the Smithsonian app does not include all the museums in DC, something that should be considered for an update in the future.
The Uffizi Gallery App, Florence, Italy: $1.99. Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Version 1.6, last updated October 1, 2012. You can now explore the oldest museum in modern Europe with the Uffizi Gallery App and discover the wonders of European and Italian art. You can plan a trip to Florence through the app, wander through the rooms of the Gallery, and view the masterpieces of Giotto’s Madonna Enthroned, Leonardo’s Annunciation, and the Medusa by Caravaggio just to name a few. Not only will you get an interactive virtual tour of the museum with the mobile app, but you can also learn more specifically about each exhibit and work- ultimately enhancing your learning and viewing experience.
Please note this is not a full or complete list of all the museum apps out there, just a sampling of some of our favorites for the iPhone and Android.