“His house is like a museum. It’s very beautiful and very cold, and you’re not allowed to touch anything.” – Matthew Broderick, in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
People sometimes think of museums the way Ferris Bueller described them. But as you and I know, that’s changing! Especially when museums adopt mobile technology to create interactive apps that enhance the visitor experience.
Check out the recent survey by the American Alliance of Museums in the U.S. and Museums Association in the U.K. It’s predicted that by 2013, there will be two billion smartphones worldwide. Many smartphone users, of course, will visit museums – and they want a way to interact with exhibits on their devices.
The survey found the biggest motivation for most “mobile museums” is visitor engagement. That might mean guiding the visitor though the museum via a custom map or providing them with an interactive tour with multimedia features like photos, videos and audio.
Many museums may have shied away from creating a mobile experience for their visitors because:
1. They thought it would be too expensive
2. They thought it would require serious technological expertise
In the past, yep – those two reasons were true. But not anymore. With do-it-yourself app platforms now available like TourSphere, museums can build custom mobile apps that work on any smartphone or tablet (iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.).
Many museums have already employed this technology with great results. New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art teamed up with TourSphere and Green Door Labs to create an interactive mobile game that leads visitors on a murder mystery through the museum. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center’s mobile app is an emotional journey through the museum and the struggle for freedom. And the Boston-area based Museum of Bad Art is using its new TourSphere mobile app to showcase its pieces for its tens of thousands of Facebook fans who are based around the world.
As museums continue to adopt mobile technology and create interesting, and sometimes unexpected, visitor experiences, Ferris Bueller’s hilarious statement will itself seem like a thing of the past.