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  • sdaugherty28 10:06 pm on November 6, 2011 Permalink

    Mobile Apps: Brooklyn Museum and the AMNH 

    Hi Everyone,

    Erin and I visited the Brooklyn Museum and the American Museum of Natural History last week. I decided to download the app ahead of time to my ipod touch because I was not sure how long it would take at the Museum. When we got to the Brooklyn Museum, I did not notice any sign advertising the mobile app. I would guess that most visitors did not even know that the museum had one. Similarly, I did not locate a desk or anything where you could rent a ipod if you did not have your own.

    I was quite excited to test out that app, but soon became discouraged. Not only did my ipod touch take a long time to detect the Museum’s wifi, but the app took a very long time to load. Erin, who was using her iphone, had the same problems. We started to walk around the museum hoping we would find a stronger connection. The text began to load, but my ipod would not load the app’s images. It was very hard to locate the object the app was describing without the image. I tried to reload the app multiple times, but soon became so frustrated that I abandoned it. Erin had the same problems on her iphone. I did use my blackberry to call numbers on the wall labels for more information. That was interesting, but I did not have the patience to call every object’s extension.

    Like Erin, I played with the app when I got home and think it has potential. The images loaded while I was at home, which suggests there was a problem with Brooklyn’s wifi strength and not the app. I think the rotating object of the day was cool. This is a great way to show people objects that they might not get to that visit. In addition, I wish I could have browsed the highlights in each geographical area. The Museum has a good basic outline, but I would have liked to see more information about each object. As Katie said, a lot of the text was from their website and didn’t provide additional information. Also, check out the Brooklyn Museum’s open storage. It. was. AMAZING!

    After lunch, we went to the AMNH. Like Lea said, the app is not very well advertised. I didn’t see a sign for it nor did I notice a place where you could rent ipods. I thought I downloaded the app the night before, but it turns out I only downloaded the Dinosaur app (Cori described this app very well in her post). The explorer app was for the entire museum and not just the dinosaur exhibits. I noticed the app had different tours, but Erin and I choose the visit the highlights. We decided to visit the Eastern Island Head first. In my opinion, the best part of the app was its map and directions. The museum is so big and I know I would have been lost without the app’s gps capability. Not only did the app provide directions to exhibits and objects, but also to the cafe, bathroom, store, and exhibits. In addition, the app kept track which exhibitions and objects you visited. I switched to the dinosaur app when we were in the exhibit with the T-rex. I think children would really love the app at the AMNH. It was user friendly and even had a tour of all the objects in Night at the Museum! I will definitely use this app at my next visit to the museum.

    My final thought: Did anyone feel a little self conscious using your phone in the museum? Most of the other visitors were not using the app and I wondered if they thought I was someone who couldn’t put their phone away… Little did they realize I was actually engaging in the museum!

    • erinlbradford 10:32 pm on November 6, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      ❤ the open storage. Some people choose to get married in museums, I would get married in Brooklyn's open storage 🙂

    • corilinville 4:54 pm on November 7, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      i want to get married in a museum! haha that would awesome!
      also… i didnt feel self conscious using my phone, i think i would only have that way if i was talking on it, especially not about museum related issues. though I did not see other people using their phones while I was in the museum. But it’s not like anyone came up to me and say can you please put your phone away. So i felt like I was okay in what I was doing.

    • annaanna21 11:37 pm on November 7, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hi Stephanie I liked reading this text because I guess everyone had a same problem as you discuss. I mean problems with Internet and information download:) I remember that mine just stooped working after a while because of some mail account problem. I wanted to bookmark a photo and send it t my mail but it just never worked:)) Although I still enjoyed the Mobile Apps experience a lot:)

    • chrislarry 11:01 pm on November 14, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Bonnie (the GA) did a fantastic mobile app game prototype based on the open storage for her final project in this class last year. She hand animated all the story boards. Ask her to see it.

  • ktkeckeisen 9:37 pm on November 6, 2011 Permalink  

    Museum Mobile Apps. 

    For my two mobile apps, I decided to go to the Brooklyn Museum as well as MoMA, both of which I had never actually been to.

    I went to the Brooklyn Museum first, since it’s further away. I had downloaded both apps before I went so I wouldn’t have to worry about it when I got there. When I arrived, I didn’t really see anything that advertised that the museum had a mobile app. I did, however, notice that the back of my “proof of admission” tag had a QR code on it. I decided to go up to the second floor first and see the “Raw/Cooked” exhibit first, since it looked interesting. I turned on my mobile app, but I was disappointed to find that most of the information I was given could have been found on their website. Since I have an iPhone, I could have just as easily accessed that. I moved into one of the permanent galleries to see if maybe I could make more sense of the app. when I was in amongst the permanent collection; no dice. I did, however, notice another QR code on the side of a display case. Since I’ve never used QR codes before and we’d been discussing them, I downloaded the free QR code reader app and scanned the code. It took me to a page that had a beautiful poem on it that related to the object on display.

    Just out of curiosity, I scanned the code on the back of my admission tag. Up popped a welcome screen that told me to look out for other QR codes around the museum to access additional information, as well as play their Gallery Tag! game. I was intrigued by the game, but didn’t understand how to start playing as there was no direct way to get to the game from the tag. So I wandered around a bit more before stumbling on to a small exhibit that had a QR code on the wall that said “play our game”. I scanned it and was taken directly to the Gallery Tag! game, where the goal is to collect points by finding objects in the permanent collection that can be “tagged” with a given word (ex. lion, racy, dramatic, fruit, nude, earrings). I became thoroughly engrossed in the game and spent a good hour more than I expected to just playing the game. I did find that I wasn’t paying very much attention to the exhibits at large, but it was still a fun activity. I do think that some sort of sign should have been up in the lobby that allowed you to start playing the game immediately without having to stumble onto a QR code in a random exhibit. The actual app was a bit useless, as it had no extra information that couldn’t be found on the website and no information about the QR codes.

    From there, I went to MoMA. Luckily, it was First Friday, so I got in for free. I’m kind of glad, as I’m not sure I’d have wanted to pay. The place was packed, but I set about trying to figure out what their app did. Mostly, it was for audio tours that could be listened to on your phone rather than on the audio wands that you can procure in the lobby. I found that I would have rather had the audio wand, since the app relies on an internet connection and their Wi-Fi was being finicky. I expected to have a mobile tour that was more along the lines of “highlights of the collection” or something similar. Instead, it was simply find the piece by floor (if it had an audio symbol) and listening to the curators talk about the piece. Interesting to be sure, but often the pieces I wanted to know about didn’t have an audio option. With all of the people that were there because it was free, I found myself not entirely enjoying my time.

    Overall, these two museums had one thing in common about their apps, they weren’t anything special or unique. I understand that you want the activities to be available to everyone, but its a bit of a letdown when you open up the app and find that its no different than what you could find on the website or what you could get from the lobby. However, I LOVED the Gallery Tag! game. I would love to see something similar put into practice at more museums. You feel like a detective and, while you may skip over objects that don’t have something to tag, it still engages you in the exhibits.

    • erinlbradford 10:28 pm on November 6, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I was interested in seeing how many people went to Brooklyn… Especially after the article in class a couple weeks back. It’s interesting to see how many will go out of their way, and out of the city, for a museum.

  • corilinville 8:49 pm on November 6, 2011 Permalink  

    mobile app number 2 

    I went to the American Museum of Natural History with Amy, Melanie, and Anna. But my difference was that I had my iphone 4 with me so I downloaded the app on my own (and had fully charged my phone). The difference in having my own phone and being able to download the apps on my own is that there are actually four different apps. But three of the apps just go with three exhibits (one which isn’t open yet). The four apps are dinosaurs, cosmic, explorer, and beyond.

    Beyond is the one that isn’t open yet and I want to go back when it does open because it looks really fun because you use your camera to activate the images and share them with friends. But beyond that (haha) I really don’t know anything else about it. So I will be going back to use it, It opens on the 19th.

    The Cosmic app is a mosaic that is really interesting. I wasn’t really sure how to use it or how it or if it interacts with the museum and didn’t really have enough time to figure it all out but I really like the idea. You double tap it and it gives you an image within the image and then gives you info about it. People can leave comments about it and you can even leave a comment. You can then send the picture in an email to a friend. It’s pretty awesome if you ask me. I was a little more excited than I should have been when I was looking at this and figuring it out. There was one picture and one of the comments on it was something like- dude im a girl but this is awesome and i love science!!!

    The Dinosaurs app was a mosaic as well and was basically the same thing but just with dinosaur related things. Still super cool. It also had stories about specific dinosaurs, like the T-Rex. And it gives you extras such as the itunes podcast. The podcast episodes are free but have nothing to do with dinos but i have gotten sucked into them and downloaded some of them. http://www.amnh.org/news/category/podcast/ oh, amnh you are sneaky…

    But back to the one main app that everyone gets that is important and that we actually use yesterday. It’s called Explorer. You click it and it gives you a directory, a map, a bookmark button, and info. If you click on the directory you can find exhibits, get museum tours, find food and shops, and find restrooms and exits. If you go to the find exhibits you can go to either the popular, by hall, or a-z. Then you click on the object and it gives you the directions and info about it. THEN! when you click on the info you can say that you’ve visited it, you can bookmark it as one of your favorite places, AND you can SHARE IT! via twitter or facebook! which I did. (you have to sign into your account through it so I didn’t do my facebook cuz I’m always suspicious of it getting hacked, but i did my twitter). I love this museum and this idea so I tweeted six of these and here is an example of what it puts on your twitter (I added the Easter island head part). And click on the link and it sends you to the site that tells you ALL about the head, it’s awesome!
    Look what I found at the American Museum of Natural History! http://bit.ly/9P0wOp Easter island head!!!

    I think it is all REALLY well done. Random fun fact, on the weekends you get to go into the brain room and play with (fake) brains and so I got to pick up a brain of people who no longer exist. It was in the same exhibit with Lucy, which we found with the help of our mobile app. Fun stuff! Look at all this interacting!

    Definitely way better than the American Indian Museum in my opinion. And I really liked the mobile app/apps. Even though the one that they give you at the front desk one only gives you the explorer one 😦

  • lleamuseum 8:19 pm on November 6, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Mobil App Visit   

    I visited two museums exploring their mobile apps and here is what I found.

    AMNH: The only person who was aware or knowledgeable about the app was their front desk manager. There were Iphone that could be rented for a refundable deposit of about $40 however that is only till 3pm. As well I was with a person who had Android and was not able to get the app. Once in the museum then you are able to download the app which took about 30min.

    Once the app was up and running it was a lot of fun and very interesting. I used the Explorer App to help me navigate through the museum. A few of the rooms had construction and the technology did not pick that up or was not programmed for it. So if you are looking for the Alaskan Brown bear you may have some trouble because he is not there. I also played the fossil scavenger hunt. That was a lot of fun and a great way for families and friend to explore the space.

    I spoke to some people who were using the app and they liked it. I found it surprising that is was only in English. Perhaps visitors could get more out of it if where provided in other languages. I also observed more people using their phones to take pictures or using face time or skype to share the space with people who were not there with them.
    Museum of the American Indian:

    The app its self is not well advertized. Again the one staff member did not know how to use it or help get others set up. He handed me a photo copy of an email from the communications director with instructions and a pass word for their WIFI. The App could only be downloaded once in the space and that took a 30mins.

    Once everything was set the app was great. The story lines, information and voice over were great. It was in the format of an American Indian story teller. I am probably dating myself but the women sounded like Grandma Willow from Disney’s Pocahontas. It was great! There were multiple layers of information and there where many ways to interact with the information. I also found it interesting that the museum itself had interactive computers and touch screens incorporated in the space. And talk about distraction, both visitors and the guards spent way too much time focusing on them. The guards had to reset the computers because kid would come through and either try to change settings or shut them off. Also the only language it was in was English and people who did have iphones spent more time reading emails and taking pictures than using an app. In fact I saw no other person using the app in at the same time as me.

    Once set up the apps are great. There are an excellent way to look and interact with the exhibits, artifacts and information. The graphics and sound are high quality and the timing is quick. I would like to recommend both of these and I can’t wait to explore others.

    • erinlbradford 10:23 pm on November 6, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I love Grandma Willow! I had an unsafe obsession with raccoons after that movie.

  • chillinwithnobody 1:44 am on November 6, 2011 Permalink

    I went to the American Museum of Natural History today. Anna, Amy and I checked out ipod touches from the museum, and went exploring. My first reaction was that the app was good for finding you way around. There are a few ways to explore the museum. First there are tours and scavenger hunts to see the high lights of the museum. I liked this a lot; there a few things that everyone is going to want to see, especially at the AMNH, and I thought it was helpful to be guided directly to the different objects, from the blue whale to the t-rex and lucy. The problem the group had was that it didn’t tell you where the object was before you chose to go to it. There was no indication on the object page or the map (more on that later), so you couldn’t plan your trip strategically; we started crisscrossing the museum, wasting a lot of time/energy getting around. That being said, the room icons on the map did tell you what highlighted item was in that room, so that was helpful once you were in the room so you didn’t miss anything important.

    Second was the mapping section. Firstly, I had major problems with my second ipod, but more on that later. With the first ipod, it worked fine. There was a digital map of the whole museum that breaks down where you are and also what is in every room. The problem in the design I feel is that the overall map doesn’t give you the name of the rooms, so you have to click on a icon to a) find out what room it is and b) whats in that room. So you have to memorize the rooms, which I felt made it difficult to navigate. I kept referencing my paper map to see what was near, so we could stop wandering. I wish that the digital map was more like the paper map, and allowed you to explore at a glance, without having to check every icon.

    I did find the information that the app gave you about the exhibits to be useful. Alot in the galleries is unlabeled, or just gives a name. There was a North West Indian’s armour with chinese coins all over it, and that was a bit confusing. So we checked the app, and it explained they came from a Boston merchant (didn’t explain how they got to Washington, but anyway…). So that was informative; the bad thing was that that was the only thing in the whole room in the app! That was pretty common, only a few highlighted items were mentioned, but what they had was informative, if brief.

    Now for the technical problems! First, my ipod, about 30 minutes in, alerted me that I had 20% battery left, and started dying. Then Amy and Anna’s started to die as well, which is a little insane, because we arrive at around 11:30, so we should have been among the first users of the day, so why weren’t they fully charged? It was a problem we never thought about: keeping equipment charged is very important, because it only took a hour and a half for the device to get dangerously low on power. We swung back to the desk and got replacement ipods, and they almost gave Amy one that was low again! With new ipods, we returned to the gallery, but I had a lot of technical problems with this on my second ipod. The app couldn’t find me in the museum! I didn’t feel like returning for a third ipod, so I kept it. It always said I was on the second floor, even when I was on the fourth! Because of this, the guided map directions didn’t work, and it always preset back to the front room, which I was no where near. When I eventually got back on the second floor, the problem still occurred, they just had the right floor coincidentally. If I had been by myself and didn’t have my paper map, this would have been very, very confusing!

    Anyway, we took too long in AMNH to get to MoMA, so we’re going back tomorrow. Part two to come!

    • sdaugherty28 10:10 pm on November 6, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It’s great that you had the experience of borrowing an ipod. I think that’s very different from using your own.

    • annaanna21 10:42 pm on November 7, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Thanks Melanie for the detailed information. It was also very interesting to read about the technical problems the Mobile Apps had. I think it still needs some time before the Mobile Apps will perfectly function since it is still a new thing for now:)

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