Benchmark of iPhone and mobile in museums

Brooklyn Museum

Mobile version of the Museum's website (published March 2009):


Making Sense of Modern Art Mobile

Available in English, with selected stops in French, German, and Spanish.

Contains the catalog of pieces in the museum, as well as interviews with artists, curators, scholars and storytellers; video footage; poems; music — all on demand, interactive, and free of charge.

Available at the Museum.

Rooftop Garden tour

iPhone tour of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, that lets the user explore its new Rooftop Garden, with ten sculptures, commentaries by artists and curators, artists at work, and other resources to discover the Garden's backstory.
It also contains a daily calendar updates of upcoming events.

More info:

Indianapolis Museum of Art

TAP is a multimedia iPod Touch tour for "Sacred Spain: Art and Belief in the Spanish World" exhibition (October 2009 - January 2010).
As seen in the museum's website, "TAP users tapped into alternative perspectives of Sacred Spain through expert interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, on-location shoots, musical selections, x-ray imagery and other surprises. iPod Touch devices were available for rent onsite. Content was available in both English and Spanish".Cost: $5.

More info:

Love Art - National Gallery
Version 1.0 published on 2009, May 1st.

Iphone app that contains more than 250 works from the National Gallery. Includes audio, zoomable high-resolution images, theme groupings and image galleries.

Based upon Pentimento, an application for the iPhone and iPod Touch platform. Pentimento is a modular application that can be assembled and customized.

There are three ways to access content (source: Pentimento website)

  • Items list. Scrollable list view, where each item has a thumbnail image and text assigned to it. The content can be organized by diverse categories. It is possible to create submenus for each item.
  • Insight. Objects from the items list are also accessible through a list of themes (items/sub-items can be grouped into themes). When the user selects a theme, a random piece of content is played.
  • Image Gallery: overview of 16 images in thumbnail size that can be viewed in slideshow mode, with controls.

Created by Antenna Audio.

More info:

Gustav Klimt exhibition at Tate Liverpool
(visible on an Iphone, or using Firefox or Safari on a computer)

Contains exhaustive information about the author and the exhibition. Although information is mainly textual, it also contains other media, as for instance (quicktime documentation about pieces on the exhibition)

Also interesting is that that user can send feedback ( Note that the Iphone is used by the museum not only to provide information, but also to receive it from its direct users or visitors.

More info:

Tate Modern: Turner Prize 08

Information about Turner Prize 08: artists, history, visiting information, etc. Artists' information contains QuickTime sequences as well as photographs of their works.

Sequential navigation structure.

Moma wifi

Contains two sections:

  • MoMA Audio is an audio program devoted to the Museum's collection and special exhibitions. It contains audio tours in multiple languages.
  • Visitor information. Textual information about museum hours, dining options, visitor policies, etc.

More info:

(Safari or Firefox are recommended)

Prototype developed by Saint Louis Science Center. Even when it currently contains textual information and some photographs, it may be interesting to follow-up future developments, especially for these sections:

San Jose Museum of Art virtual tours
Contains museum exhibitions and artists documentation, with text, pictures and quick time video.

Especially interesting are:

  • Artists' information ( Each page contains not only textual information about the artist, but also some images that user can click on to enlarge, and a video with the artist's testimonial.

More info:

Universal Museum Media Widget

Widget that can be accessed with cell phone or Iphone.

Contains, among others, the following issues:

  • Audio on demand (National Museum of Australia). User can play or download mp3 files, with contents about the museum
  • Agenda (What's happening at Providence Children's Museum)
  • Twitter ( A Museum Twitter RSS feed can be sent to this phone directory.

Indianapolis Museum of Art

The Indianapolis Museum of Art will launch its first in gallery mobile tour in the fall of 2009 to coincide with a special exhibition entitled "Sacred Spain".

The IMA team plans on building a mobile platform which can be reused for many different types of content and special exhibitions.

Rob Stein explains: "We envision a set of polls or questions supporting multiple choice or yes/no feedback from inside the exhibition... the results of these polls will be viewable on the museum's website and in an in-gallery technology space adjacent to the special exhibition.
We are also exploring the possibility of integrating a sign-up for the IMA e-news letter from this device as well as potential incentives like a discount in the store or cafe upon subscription to e-news."

More info at:

Dallas Museum of Art

Project in development, explained by its designer Ted Forbes, at
(see the video).

Ted Forbes points out that it can be viewed in full screen mode in the Iphone (clicking on the plus button at the bottom of Safari window > Add to Home Screen).


  • Optimized for in-gallery use
  • Available for use outside of the museum
    o Web App
    o iPhone App
  • Interface not device specific (XML)

Application in 3 parts:

  • Front End for Browser or App use
  • PHP parsing XML Based data
  • Framework JQTouch
  • Back End Content Management App

Future expansion:

  • API integration
  • Possibilities for Additional Apps

More info:

Ukiyo-E Beauties 

Ukiyo-e Beauties features art taken directly from The Chiba City Museum of Art, which hosts one of the world's most famous Ukiyo-e collections. The most outstanding characteristic is the effort to reproduce the original color of each piece. Pieces are available in 1150 x 800 resolution.

Musee du Louvre iPhone App

Video available here:

First published on 2009, November.

Some other references:

Sekai Camera

Developed by Tonchidot, Sekai Camera (in Japanese, World Camera) is conceived as a social tagging device for the iPhone. It combines the camera. the GPS, the internet connectivity and the microphone. When you start it, the application first checks where you are using the built-in GPS in the iPhone 3G.

User can:

  • See information about places and objects around him, with tags overlaid on the real-time video.
  • Add his own tags and information, which can include text, images, and sound (his own voice, for instance).
  • Add comments to previously existing tags.

Watch a video with a navigation demo made at La Villette (Paris):

The voicemail Museum
Article about an experiment based on the use of cell phone not to serve content, but as a feedback device to know users' opinions.

Brooklyn Museum API: the IPhone app
In development. Not accessible by now.

Above link contains an interview with Brooklyn IPhone app's developer, Adam Shackelford.  Some remarkable contents are:

  • The app is entirely driven by the API, so it is always updated with museum content, and you are always connected to the museum in a very concrete way that was not technically possible before, and isn't possible yet with any other museum in the world.
  • When the iPhone 3.0 OS goes public in June, we are planning a much more exciting geotagging experience, because the built-in mapping is making a great leap forward. Also we are interested in allowing users to tag items in the collection, expand the browsing options, etc.
  • I marvel at the geometric ingenuity of Islamic textiles, text, and ceramics, and Brooklyn Museum has a good amount of these. I'm also very interested in Japanese art, but I'm going to stop myself here before I list everything at the museum. One feature we built in the app is the ability to browse items totally at random, so I've been spending some time cycling through the 20,000+ items in the API, but many of those I have not yet seen in person.

Sign guide on PDA

This reference is included although it's not about an Iphone project, but adressed to PDA devices.

Interactive guide for PDA devices, based on Sign Language with subtitles. It enables the hearing-impaired to make and autonomous visit of the museum.

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