How to Virtually Tour a Museum From Your Phone

Published On September 12, 2013 | Mobile

Forget about renting that clunky handheld device and headset at your next museum visit—smartphones make touring museums easier than ever. More and more museums around the world are offering apps to compliment and enrich the museum experience.

New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre in Paris and London’s National Gallery are among the world-renowned museums now offering apps to give patrons the most out of their museum visit. You can get more out of your next museum visit by following these easy steps.

Find a Museum App

Before your visit, you can see if the museum you plan to go to offers an app by visiting the museum’s website or searching the App Store. Look for official museum apps for the best touring experience. Most major museums offer apps either for free or a small fee. Once you’ve located the museum app of choice, install it on your phone and you’ll be all set.

Familiarize Yourself with the App

After you’ve found, downloaded and installed the app for the museum you plan to visit, you may want to spend a little time getting to learn the features of the app. Though many museum apps are similar, each one offers different features. The Louvre’s museum app includes GPS and a map locating highlighted pieces. New York’s Museum of Modern Art app is free and allows visitors to browse by floor and listen to audio descriptions of not to miss pieces like Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

Some museum apps allow you to locate audio descriptions through a number search while others use QR codes to pull up information about an exhibit or art work. You can also learn about special exhibits, buy tickets, keep track of museum hours, or see calendar events through many museum apps.

Maximize Your Time and Explore Away!

If you’ve spent some time familiarizing yourself with a museum app, you’ll be able to hit the ground running when you actually reach the museum. Museum apps allow you the benefit of knowing which art pieces or exhibits are most notable and not to miss so you can maximize your time and get the most out of your next trip to the museum.

For those traveling to museums in foreign countries, many apps allow you to choose the language setting so you’ll be able to get the maximum enjoyment from your visit. Depending on the app you choose, you will most likely need to bring a pair of ear buds or headphones to listen to any audio descriptions.

Don’t Leave Your Phone At Home

Smartphone museum apps make touring any museum a breeze and add to the experience. They are perfect for pointing out highlights in an otherwise overwhelming collection so you won’t miss seeing notable artifacts like the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum or masterpieces like the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, or American Gothic at the Art Institute of Chicago.

— By Jennifer Thayer

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