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!