Cleveland Museum of Art Uses iPads for Visitor-Personalized Tours

Wednesday March 20, 2013 8:21 PM PDT by Husain Sumra

The Cleveland Museum of Art has developed a new system that allows visitors to use iPads to give themselves personalized tours, share tours with other visitors, gain more information about exhibits and more, according to The New York Times.

ipadclevelandmuseumImage via Michael F. McElroy, New York Times

The system starts at a 40-foot touchscreen that allows visitors to view all of the art at the museum in postcard-sized photos. When a visitor selects one of the photos, it is enlarged and arranged on the screen with similarly themed art placed around the selected photo. Next to the photo is a heart-shaped icon that allows the visitor to transfer it to a favorites list on an iPad app. Visitors can bring their own iPads or rent one for $5 a day.

From the list of favorites, the user can devise a personalized tour, which can be shared with other users. “It’s very democratic. You can create a tour, and give it a funny name, and other people will follow it through the museum,” Mr. [David] Franklin [director of Cleveland Museum of Art] said. So far, more than 200 visitors have made their own tours, with names like “My new faves by Linda” and “Preston Loves Shadows.”

The new technology is part of a $350 million expansion to the museum, which includes Gallery One where the 40-foot touchscreen displaying the museum's art is located.

The goal of the new program is to lure new visitors to the museum, although museum directors do note that there is a danger that users of the app could choose to stay home and admire the art on their iPads. Director Franklin cited this as a reason why they don't support the Google Art Project, which houses high-definition photos of art.

The museum plans to expand the program to iPhones and add new digital features in the future, while other museums such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and National September 11 Memorial Museum are planning to launch similar connectivity with iPads.

Top Rated Comments

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92 months ago
Since anyone can use this app from home as well, I tried it--BIG content download the first time, but it's a very neat and informative app!

The camera stuff (detecting art you point the device at) sounds like it would be neat in person.

Ruins the experience for me, personally. You don't go to a museum to use a tablet.

Well, you go to a museum to see the art.... AND to learn about it.

Is it wrong to read captions/plaques? Listen to a tour guide? Follow a map? If those things are acceptable tools to accompany the art, then an iPad app is too. And can do some things those others can't. Different people prefer different experiences, but this need not subtract in any way from the art.

Meanwhile, you can also use this even if you never go to Cleveland. It's like a free art book.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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92 months ago

Ruins the experience for me, personally. You don't go to a museum to use a tablet.



You can always choose not to use it.:D
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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92 months ago
Museum of modern art in Tasmania, Australia has a similar software with iPod touches. It seems it would be a bit to distracting with an iPad though. The iPods just sit around your neck in case you need them.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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92 months ago

Ruins the experience for me, personally. You don't go to a museum to use a tablet.


It's just as valid a way to deliver information about the art as any other.

Once upon a time, printed labels, light bulbs, and air conditioning were all cutting edge technology
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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92 months ago
Ruins the experience for me, personally. You don't go to a museum to use a tablet.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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92 months ago
In the uk we used to have Sister Wendy ( a real Nun) who spent a lot of her life in a small caravan in the grounds of a convent on her own reading about art, she then was persuaded to go on TV and tell the story behind the art and it was very interesting.
Would be great to have Sister Wendy giving you the low down on the Art as you walked round.
With her unique style it takes some getting used to but the information and the delivery become quite compelling if you are into that sort of thing.

found This, some Written commentary by her about a work of art at Cleveland Museum.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/sisterwendy/works/sta.html

Also //www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSgib77AX-M
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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