mobile app number 1


I went to the National Museum of the American Indian today and since the George Heye Center has only been opened since 1994 it’s pretty new and they have some nice touch screens and picture screens (which I actually liked better than the mobile app). The mobile app that they have goes with the Infinity of Nations exhibition. It’s available at the apple app store, just type in infinity of nations and it should pop up, and its free! and it looks really cool, right? and has really cool features.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/infinity-of-nations/id399073310?mt=8

But I have a MAJOR bone to pick.
The people at the museum to not promote this app AT ALL.
Nowhere, and i repeat, NOWHERE, do they mention this app in the museum or in the exhibit. I looked at all three entrances of the exhibition. I made it my goal to try and find where there was a place where it would tell me where this app was. I couldn’t find anything, so I asked one of the nice security men who works in there. He said he had never heard of this before. Then I asked a nice boy about our age who was also viewing the exhibit if he had heard of an app for the exhibit and he said he hadn’t either. So then I went to the big guns and went to the front and asked one of the volunteers and her response- “You’re the first person I’ve ever talked to who has ever downloaded it on their own before!”. (In my head I was thinking, ok….something is not good with this system). So I asked her if they gave out Iphones and she said that they did and they gave out headphones with them but you had to give a piece of federal id in exchange.
I don’t think anyone knows about this. But it really did not seem to matter. Everyone seemed extremely content without using any technology. Because even though there were computers, I was the only one who used one the whole hour I was there. Even though there were touch screens, I did not see anyone use one. The only technology that I saw anyone use was cameras to take pictures. And that was enough. So even though it is great to have participatory activities, it’s not always what makes an exhibition great because with this the artifacts should do the talking, not the mobile app.

And when you go on the website all i ended up finding…
Go to that link, go to the bottom of the page, hover your mouse over the part that says northwest coast, and it tells you that you can download the app.

http://www.nmai.si.edu/exhibitions/infinityofnations/

Also, that is basically all that the app is, and it has more info than the app does. And there are computers in the exhibit space that have this on it so you can play with it. Which, it is fun to do, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just the computer program smushed down. Here’s some fun pictures and some of the items that it talked about in the app!

But I’m really sad to say that I actually don’t feel like this app is needed. Because when I downloaded it onto my phone last night I was actually really excited about it and going into the exhibit and figuring everything out. But then once I got there I realized…eh, not all that exciting. It’s pictures of things that are already displayed. And they have these computer stations that do the same thing, and unless people really really hate reading and really like listening to people, the app just repeats what the exhibition already says. I will say that the app does have a fun family feature where it’s like a hide a seek but you could just do that yourselves. so again, repetitive. And if apps really cost thousands and thousands of dollars to make, I feel like someone did something wrong with this one.

Hopefully the Natural History apps will make me happier

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