The Cleveland Museum of Art is using Apple iPads to help visitors embrace art history and all of its nuances. Museum visitors can load the museum’s ArtLens app onto their own iPads or rent one during their visits to create custom curated tours.
Featured this week in the the New York Times, once inside the museum’s halls, visitors are greeted by a 40-ft touchscreen wall that displays all of the artwork currently on display. Visitors can resize the digital versions, get directions to their exact locations and choose which ones they want they’d like to see to build customized tours. The tours can be loaded from the touchscreen onto their iPads. Tablet rentals are just $5 per day for visitors that don’t have their own.
Museum visitors can save and share their own tours with others with the iPad app. This benefits visitors, the museum and people who haven’t visited the museum yet.
The museum hopes to increase visitors’ engagement levels with the new technology. The app is packed with photos and videos that are much more immersive than guides, placards or audio-tours. Visitors can even scan artwork with the iPad’s camera to quickly access info.
The Cleveland Museum isn’t the only gallery to use iPads and technology to stay relevant and educate its patrons. Galleries across the country are using mobile applications in much the same way. The National September 11 Memorial Museum, Gallery One, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Design are all presently have or are working on programs that take advantage of the iPad’s unique ability to add to an educational experience, particularly it’s relatively hassle-free setup, longer battery life, and lower maintenance when compared to initiatives built on Windows.
Read More: The iPad, an Opportunity to Change Education
These advantages don’t just work well for museums and public exhibits, the education market is also experimenting with easy ways to keep students engaged and connected while being able to drive down costs. School systems have been particularly hit hard by budget cuts at the state and local levels and are on the lookout for ways they can educate students and keep as much money in the classroom as possible.