Updates from November, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • sarahadlis 6:45 am on November 8, 2011 Permalink  

    Museum Mobile Apps 

    The first App I reviewed was at the American Museum of Natural History. Like many of the rest of us that went to AMNH, I checked out a iTouch once I got to the museum. It was a relatively painless process, and I really liked that they had the apps already loaded for me- I’m nothing if not technologically impaired, so that part helped. I’m not really sure what I was expecting from the AMNH app (Maybe I was looking for an app where you check in at certain exhibit features to get more info? Maybe I was expecting an external story like Ego Trap?), but even though these apps weren’t it, I still appreciated them. You could search for popular spots in the museum by specific object, or by exhibition category, and gain a little bit of extra info on popular sites through the app. The part of their app that I used most, however, was the map/ directions feature. In a museum as huge as the AMNH, I really appreciated being able to enter in either an exhibit or a specific item that I wanted to see, and then having them show me how to get there. It helped me prioritize and itemize what I wanted to see at the museum, and, most importantly, to find it. I don’t feel like I got an extra layer of meaning or interaction with the museum through the app, but it was definitely a great tool to help me personalize my museum visit.
    The second App I looked at was the Brooklyn Museum’s app. I visited the museum a few weeks ago, and retroactively browsed the app to see how it would have changed my visit. The Brooklyn Museum’s app was far more about adding an extra layer of information for the interested visitor than the AMNH’s app was. I felt like using the app at the museum could have given me more info about the exhibits I was interested in, though not in an artifact/item specific fashion- their extra information is more about the exhibition as a whole. I also appreciate that the Brooklyn Museum’s app can be interacted with outside of the museum. With ‘calendar’, ‘visit’, and ‘Target First Saturday’ as available categories, the app can be consulted by regular visitors to easily get information about goings on in the museum without having to navigate the Brooklyn Museum’s website.

  • Amyrt 4:59 am on November 8, 2011 Permalink

    Museum mobile app reviews 

    So I went to the American Museum of Natural History and MOMA. Their apps are very different! The app for AMNH is for the iphone and we were able to get itouch at the front desk easily with a wait and a charge of $50 deposit. I think the 50 is a bit excessive I imagine there must be a better way to get people back to return the device. Some people do not have a credit card and $50 available all the time.
    We found out more info on specific objects and animals through the app. For example, a huge male mosquito was made to educate New York about the spread of malaria in like 1917, when females are the only ones that bite! I went with a group and it actually sparked some conversation, I wanted to share what it said and talk with others about things on exhibit. However I think there should be more things on the app, some rooms only have one important thing and others are just on the map. There is only one to two sentences, but it is nice because I don’t want to stare at the app longer than the real artifact. The map was very badly labeled but it could pinpoint your location and lead you to other exhibits step by step. I wish it gave the ending location of the exhibit so you can decide if you want to follow the directions because it’s not far or if it is on 4th floor and you are on 1st. Also it was cool you can post to twitter or facebook and bookmark and exhibit and email it to yourself, it didn’t work very well for me. All of us also were low battery after an hour and half and had to go back and wait again to get another itouch. Battery life is important!
    The MOMA app has a better labeled map but you had to look around to find it. I like that you can hear some of the artists talk about their work. They had an immense amount of text it seemed. You can type in the number and the audio comes up for the work. Or select where you are and find the content. It was easy to use. A little boring though and definitely too much text.

  • melbump 1:33 am on November 8, 2011 Permalink  

    I was able to attend some of the sessions in the auditorium of the online Mobile Learning Conference. This was my first time accessing an online conference, so it took some getting used to. When I went into a “shop” and the representative addressed me by name through my computer speakers, I was a little taken back.
    However, I found many of the presentations fascinating and helpful. Chris McClaren of Tristan http://tristaninteractive.com/presented more about their philosophy of how to create great mobile learning experience, than a detailed description of their product. I found this approach very helpful and would like to share his thoughts. At Tristan, they can work with institutions to create anything from a simple audio, App, or game to a marketing strategy. Chris believes that the mobile learning program should be made multiplatform. This is to ensure that mobile users can access content using iPhones, Blackberries, Androids or Mobile web. The content should also include a social media strategy, allowing users to connecting to twitter, Facebook or a blog.
    Chris explained the difference between Native vs. Mobile Web. A native App is an App that is created to run specifically on the phone it runs on. For example an App created for the iPhone platform runs on an iPhone cell phone and it can’t run on a Droid or Blackberry. The Mobile Web is flexible and can run on all the platforms, but lacks in functionality and design. According the Chris, Native has its advantages over Mobile Web. It runs smoother, looks better and it also allows for more accessibility features, such as voice over support. His recommendation is to create a Native App on mutliplatforms. This option is not that much more expensive.
    The museum must market the app “Apps don’t sell themselves.” He then described an example of a museum in Canada that increased its App sales 10 times in one week, through signage, website and newspaper marketing.
    At the end of his presentation he described that an App can be created for as low as $10,000.00, which I thought was expensive. It seems to me that mobile learning can be an expensive investment for an institution. This must be why there are so many of these companies out there and not that many museum Apps. I included a list of the exhibitors with emails to this blog just incase anyone was interested.
    Some fun facts that I learned from the conference include:
    OnCell Presentation
    90% Of people in the US are Cell phone users.
    55% Use basic phones
    45% Of them use Smartphones
    12% Use iPhone
    18% Use Android
    15% Blackberry Palm
    Only 18% of visitors access content using QR codes.
    AMNH Explorer and Dinosaur Tour:
    I don’t know if it was because I was completely overwhelmed by the crowds at MNH, but I was really not impressed with their free mobile learning apps. I know these Apps cost a lot of money to make but I really expected more.

    I used the Dinosaur App and the Explorer App. For a good hour Canaan, my husband and I couldn’t find any of the Dinosaurs in the Dino Tour and the GPS couldn’t find us, to show us where to find the Dinos. After asking two staff member that didn’t know anything about an App or cell phone tour, we went to the information desk to get advise. The gentleman at the desk told us that we needed to sink with their Wi-Fi or nothing would work. We didn’t see anything posted informing you to sink with their Wi-Fi anywhere.
    We finally found the Dino’s we were looking for and accessed their App information. This included a picture of what we were looking right at and three sentences about the dinosaur that were in the panels in front of you. After you accessed the information you were able to Bookmark your Dino as visited, email yourself information about it and tweet your find. All of this social media interaction was very cool, and the information that was sent home was very thorough. I found the App worked well to send information home but did not provide any new information at the museum.
    Some of the things I expected in the Dino tour included, text and photos that were not in the museum display. Some ideas I had to remix the App include: Images of the Dino excavation, video of conservation, a rendering of what the dinosaur looked like, or a digital recreation of its habitat. Using augmented reality to see a view of where the dinosaur remains were found layered into a current view of the site today would have added a really unique experience to the display.
    All in all I was very disappointed. I hope they plan on evolving the App to include some of the new ways museums are using Apps to highlight their collection, what they do and provide a unique experience they can’t get a home.
    Mobile Learning companies

  • johnviebrock 1:28 am on November 8, 2011 Permalink  

    I decided to go to the AMNH and the MOMA. At the AMNH i decided to download the dinosaur app which I thought was very cool. It was basically a mosaic that you could zoom in on to learn more about the picture. You could also find stories about specific dinosaurs. This was very helpful when I wanted to know a little more about a certain type of dinosaur that I found interesting. Although it was a very cool app I didn’t see many people using it or it adding anything to the experience other than more info than they could put on the label. They also added some podcasts that were somewhat interesting.

    At MOMA I found their app to be an audio tour that you could use from your phone instead of an audio wand. However like Kate I found the Wi-fi to be finicky at best so the app was somewhat frustrating to use. Overall I found the AMNH app to be very helpful if you wanted more info but not very fun or interact. I would have loved a dinosaur based detective app or something like that. The MOMA app was pretty much a flop for me due to difficulty keeping connected to the wi-fi.

  • ajwhipker 12:45 am on November 8, 2011 Permalink  

    Museum Apps: National Museum of the American Indian and The Museum of Jewish Heritage 

    Kelsey and I decided to venture into the city Saturday to try out two mobile apps: one at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and one through the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

    The app at NMAI was for the exhibit “Infinity of Nations” which exhibited a variety of cultural artifacts from Indians across the Americas. Right off the bat I was sad the app was for Iphone only, luckily my partner in crime Kelsey had one! The app gave an intro to the exhibit and then had title divisions that matched those in the exhibit, by geographic area. Not every artifact was included on the app, but some of the larger or more unique artifacts were highlighted. Usually the voice on the app gave more detail and back story than the minimal object text. It was nice to be able to look at the object and not have to read at the same time. I thought this would be very useful for those with visual disabilities as sometimes the artifacts were described in detail. I also noticed on the way through the exhibit, elements of the app were set up at computer stations along with other computer interactives. Overall my experience in a nut shell= this app was a slightly more involved audio tour.

    The second app we chose to use was “Lazarus” from the Museum of Jewish Heritage. This is an outside-museum app for a walking tour of important sites of Jewish heritage across Manhattan. Some of which include the first American Temple, Mill St. Synagogue (which we found was destroyed in a fire over 100 years ago), the Statue of Liberty and the Hebrew Emigrant Aid Society. We planned to visit three of the sites, since travelling across the city on a student budget is a little hard. We found the Synagogue on the map and wandered around the Financial district trying to find it, only to realize it was destroyed once we listened to that section on the app. We walked back down to the battery to find the Aid Society, and again to no avail we couldn’t locate it. But still we listened to the app. Finally we rode by the Statue of Liberty, where we had a duh moment. The poem on the statue is the name sake of the app…Emma Lazarus, who is associated with many of the sites on the app. I really liked this app because it took your experience beyond the museum. Unfortunately it didn’t have the best map, or maybe the 3g was acting up but the map was slow to load and couldn’t zoom in very close. I also think Ellis Island should have been included on the app (Kelsey and I went there that day too), it fit in perfectly with the theme.

    Overall it was a good experience and maybe I am a little less turned off by mobile apps.

    Here are some pictures from the NMAI:

    Interesting…not Cowboys and Indians but an Indian Cowboy!

    There was a video interactive for this object that showed the process of making it

    Talk about perpetuating stereotypes, this was the first thing you would see when you walked into this education/discovery center place  








    • ajwhipker 12:49 am on November 8, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      oh I also forgot to mention the NMAI app featured a voice that…well, just sounded Native American. Would it have had a different effect if it was a different sounding voice?

      • lleamuseum 4:20 pm on November 8, 2011 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I enjoyed listing to an American Indian presenting their culture. And a great juxtaposition with the museum being in a federal building assuming it was a real American Indian. There of plenty of actors who do voice over for that sort of thing. It would have mos def sounded different if it was not an American Indian. But I think that is because it is us as emerging museums professionals who are more critical of that. I don’t know if the general public would notice. Also can you please put the photo of the Tipi in better context and why you feel it is a stereotype? MAI represents all American Indians and their life ways past, present, and future so I would like to get a better understanding.

        • ajwhipker 4:59 pm on November 8, 2011 Permalink

          In my experience most young children associate Native Americans and Tepees, which obviously is a type of home for some tribes. But because of cartoons, camp, history class etc I find that most kids think all Native Americans live in tepees (at least kids I have worked with and grew up with). I feel a different sort of structure would have been a better choice, such as a wigwam or longhouse, or maybe 2 structures (might have been hard in the space though). And I don’t remember there being any context about the tepee (ie this is a type of home from this tribe etc) there might have been but I didn’t see it. I just feel a different choice would have worked better to allow people to see a structure outside of what society presents as “Native American”. Maybe its just because of my experiences, but I know up until maybe 2nd or 3rd grade I thought all Native Americans lived in tepees and in fact that they were all pretty much the same…until I was enlightened

        • chrislarry 4:32 am on November 9, 2011 Permalink

          I really dislike the NMAI being in a federal building.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
%d bloggers like this: