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.