Tag Archives: museum tours

App Spotlight: Cabot’s Pueblo Museum

8 Sep

Self-Guided Tour Shares the Story of Coachella Valley Pioneer Cabot Yerxa

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Cabot’s Pueblo Museum preserves the homestead of visionary explorer, artist, and Mason Cabot Yerxa, whose discovery of two desert aquifers provides fresh water to California’s Coachella Valley and gave rise to the area’s hot springs resorts. After 24 years of construction, which began in 1941, Yerxa completed his 35-room pueblo, which was donated to the City of Desert Hot Springs after his death. The site is operated as a heritage museum and share artifacts of his travels, art, and collection of Native American artistry.

The newly launched Cabot’s Pueblo Museum audio tour shares the story of the adventurous pioneer and his self-built Hopi-inspired home.  The tour takes museum visitors around the structures found on the site’s 5 acres, on which the historic home sits. The app offers new interpretive content about these structures, such as the barn, tool house, and studio house, and prompts visitors to think about how they were created with locally sourced, repurposed materials.

“We have little interpretative material for the grounds and using the app will provide visitors with a stronger understanding of Cabot and simpler times in the Coachella Valley,” says Irene Rodriguez, Executive Director of Cabot’s Pueblo Museum. “Hopefully, the information found in the app will also spark greater interest and encourage users to take a guided tour, which is the only way to see the interior of the Pueblo.”

The content for the app is an expansion of an existing grounds brochure, with the audio tour scripted and recorded by a staff tour guide. The museum is working on a new exhibition in a space that has been closed for over 40 years. As this exhibition unfurls, additional content for the audio tour will be added to the app using OnCell’s flexible app-building platform.

“Our process is to start small and grow. We’re excited to use the app as a tool to enhance the visitor experience and add more content over time,” says Rodriguez.

Cabot's Pueblo Museum Brochure Image

The museum uses brochures to promote the app

The museum promotes their app with brochures and signs for tour stops. The tour can be accessed by a dial in tour number or the mobile web app, which uses a keypad.

Listen to their audio tour with their mobile app at: cabotsmuseum.oncell.com

Currier Museum of Art Wins Accessibility Award for Audio Tour

22 Jul

currier-appThe Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, was honored with a 2015 Access Award by the New Hampshire Association for the Blind for outstanding accomplishments in accessibility for people with disabilities. The Currier worked closely with the New Hampshire Association for the Blind to launch a mobile tour of collection highlights that includes audio with detailed visual descriptions.

“The Currier is committed to providing opportunities for all to enjoy art, and that means designing experiences that are accessible to people with disabilities,” said Leah Fox, Director of Public Programs.

The app also contains audio interpretation with transcriptions for each piece. Additionally, to help meet their accessibility goals, the Currier is fully wheelchair accessible, wall text is designed in large print, and assistive listening systems are available.

Visit the audio tour app at http://currier.toursphere.com to see how The Currier used mobile to help make art accessible to all.

 

Frontier Homestead State Park Launches TourSphere Mobile Tour

12 May Tour Stop Sign

Self-Guided Tour Offers Visitors Detailed History of Museum and Collections

Tour Stop Sign

Visitors can take a self-guided tour at Frontier Homestead State Park powered by OnCell-TourSphere.

Cedar City, UT – Frontier Homestead State Park Museum is excited to announce it has launched a new mobile tour app. The new cell phone audio tour allows park visitors access to significantly more information about artifacts and exhibits, all through their mobile devices. With almost 60 stops, visitors can enjoy little known historic details and personal reflections of yesteryear. Not only does the tour encourage visitors to explore the park at their leisure, it also allows them to take away what they have learned by providing access to the tour long after their visit.

Opened in 1973, Frontier Homestead State Park Museum interprets the history of Iron County, horse-drawn transportation, and early iron production. Attractions include the main carriage gallery, pioneer crafts, gift shop, and historic cabins.

Comprised of 27 stops inside the museum and 33 stops on the park grounds, the tour offers a glimpse into the history of Iron County, including rare wagons and carriages, historic buildings, and the realities of life on the frontier.

“We wanted to tell the story of each of the stops within the Park and Museum by looking deeper into the history of a particular topic than traditional signage alone would allow,” says Todd Prince, Park Manager. “The tour is an excellent opportunity to provide historic background, add intriguing details, and tell the special stories that make each stop memorable.”

Powered by technology provided by New York-based OnCell-TourSphere, a leader in the mobile space for cultural destinations, the Park intends to include additional tour stops as new exhibits are developed in the coming years. Development of the tour is made possible by support of the Cedar City–Brian Head Tourism Bureau.

The mobile tour can be accessed on any web-enabled device at http://frontierhomestead.toursphere.com, or by dialing (435) 868-3043. For more information call 435-586-9290. Frontier Homestead State Park is located at 635 North Main Street in Cedar City, Utah.

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About Frontier Homestead State Park

Frontier Homestead State Park Museum (FHSP) interprets the history of Iron County, Utah, horse-drawn transportation, and early iron production. Attractions include a main exhibit hall, pioneer crafts, gift shop, and historic cabins. The Park hosts various educational programs including community celebrations, public lectures, living history demonstrations, curation workshops, and volunteer programs. The north wing exhibit hall receives new exhibits every 6-8 weeks. The Museum is open year-round with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Hours are Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. September through May, and Monday-Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. June-August. For more information, contact the Park at (435) 586-9290, or by email at frontierhomestead@utah.gov

About OnCell-TourSphere

OnCell-TourSphere provides a full range of mobile tour solutions for museums and cultural destinations. With a variety of interactive services such as a DIY app builder, smartphone apps, mobile web apps, audio tours, GeoAlerts, beacons, and scavenger hunts, OnCell-TourSphere helps organizations become mobile-friendly. As mobile communication experts who are passionate about the arts and education, the OnCell-TourSphere team has worked on over 2,000 projects both in the U.S. and internationally since its inception in 2006.

App Spotlight: Tombstone State Historic Courthouse

18 Feb

The Tombstone State Historic Courthouse in, Tombstone, Arizona, is bringing a new interactive experience to their space by providing visitors with a mobile tour app. The tour allows visitors to access educational content through their mobile devices.

With over 18 stops, the tour takes visitors around the 1882 two-story structure which currently serves as a museum and an ode to the famous frontier silver mining boomtown. The app offers new interpretive content about the exhibits, which paint a vivid picture of the history of Tombstone.

“We have a unique museum and want the world to visit us,” says Julie Vanderdasson, Tombstone Courthouse Manger. “In addition to educating onsite visitors, the app allows those from all over the world to interact with us and gain more knowledge about Tombstone’s history.”

Currently app users and visitors alike can learn about miners, cattlemen and pioneers, see a reproduction of the courtroom and sheriff’s office, and, the staff’s favorite, a replica of the gallows where seven men were hanged.

Built with our flexible app-building platform, the museum intends to add additional content to the app, including audio, video, text, and imagery. “Everyone will have so much content to look forward to, including audio pieces recorded by the non-profit group, the Tombstone Vigilantes,” says Vanderdasson.Tomstonte-Courthouse-Mobile-Tour-App

The mobile web app can be accessed on any web-enabled device at: http://tombstoneCH.toursphere.com
or scan this QR Code

Strawbery Banke Museum Mobile App Wins 2014 NEMA Award

6 Aug

The "Listen to the Landscape" app at Strawbery Banke Museum

Congratulations to our friends at the Strawbery Banke Museum! Their app took First Place in the Mobile App category in the New England Museum Association’s 2014 Publication Awards Competition. The app, Listen to the Landscape, was cited for its excellent video interpretation, striking imagery, and overall ease of use.

The annual NEMA competition recognizes excellence in design, production, and effective communication in all aspects of museum publishing.

Located in historic Portsmouth, NH, the Strawbery Banke Museum is an outdoor history museum that allows visitors to experience nearly four centuries of New England life. The site features restored homes, exhibits, historic landscapes and gardens–all of which tell the history of the many generations who settled in the area.

The app features historic imagery and over 40 videos, produced by our partner Audissey Media. Narration by founders, ethnobotanists, historians, volunteers, and role players contribute to this outstanding interpretive museum tour app.

Discover Strawbery Banke on any web-enabled device at http://sbm.toursphere.com.

Discover Strawbery Banke on any web-enabled device at http://sbm.toursphere.com.

App Spotlight: The Historic New Orleans Collection

20 Jun

Self-Guided Tour Offers Visitors Detailed Interpretation of New Orleans History

In an effort to tell the story of Louisiana and its contribution to the growth and culture of our nation, The Historic New Orleans Collection has released a mobile web app that provides an in-depth understanding of objects found within their permanent collection. The app takes the users on a tour of The Louisiana History Galleries, found within the Merieult House, which serves as the main museum facility for the organization.

“New Orleans is approaching its 200th anniversary. Showcased by narrators in the app’s videos, individual objects exemplify a broader context of this history,” says Steve Sweet, Manager of Internet and Interactive Development at The Historic New Orleans Collection. “A visitor in the gallery viewing these objects wouldn’t necessarily comprehend these connections without taking the tour.”

Along with the narrative, the videos, which were produced in-house, also include additional objects from the collection that are not on view, further illustrating Louisiana’s story. The interpretation is similar to that of traditional docent led tours, but offers visitors the flexibility to explore the museum at their own pace with their personal devices.

iPad Minis and disposable earbuds will also be provided to visitors who don’t have their own devices to take the tour.

The Historic New Orleans Collection used OnCell-TourSphere’s app building service, QuickStart, to create the app.

Access The Historic New Orleans Collection web app on any internet enabled device at http://thnoc.toursphere.com

Access The Historic New Orleans Collection web app at http://thnoc.toursphere.com

3 Museums with Award-Winning Apps!

26 Jun

It’s been a great year so far for our clients!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art won a prestigious 2013 MUSE Award from the American Association of Museums last month — in the  Games and Augmented Reality category. Built on the TourSphere mobile platform, and co-produced with Green Door Labs, Murder at the Met: An American Art Mystery is a mobile detective game . Visitors use their smartphone to explore museum objects and interview suspects and witnesses in order to solve the murder of Virgine Gautreau, the woman immortalized in Jean Singer Sargent’s masterpiece Madame X.

Gore Place and the deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum took First Place and Honorable Mention, respectively, for Best Mobile App at the 2013 New England Museum Association Awards. Both apps are outdoor self-guided GPS tours that offer detailed interpretations of their grounds.

The American Association for State & Local History also awarded the Gore Place app with a 2013 Award of Merit.

We’re always honored to work with such fantastic clients – congratulations from all of us here at TourSphere!

Award Winners

App Spotlight: Canadian Museum of Nature

19 Mar

naturetrekforblog

The “Nature Trek” app at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Canada is designed specifically for young visitors to this breathtaking science museum. In this creative app, users are encouraged to explore themes of subject matter that is classified as “Gross”, “Bizarre”, or “Ugly”.

The app contains candid interviews with museum curators and staff – and even includes a “Highlight Tour” of staff favorites around the museum.  Visitors to the museum will get a whole new view in to the museum with this mobile app as their guide.  The app is offered in both French and English.

To view the app, visit http://naturetrek.toursphere.com or scan this QR code with your smartphone.

To view the app, visit http://naturetrek.toursphere.com or scan this QR code with your smartphone.

The Importance of Owning Your Own Content

20 Feb

Imagine hiring a carpenter to build you a new kitchen cabinet. You pay him for the job, he builds something pretty spiffy, and you’re pleased. But then you read the fine print in the contract, and you see that even though you paid him for the work, he (not you) actually owns the cabinet. 

Many museums have experienced something similar (although hopefully it didn’t come as a surprise) when creating an Audio Tour or an App. You hire an outside company to produce audio or video content, and it stipulates in the contract that they have partial or complete ownership of the content.

This means that you don’t own what you paid for. It means you have to get permission – and perhaps pay a fee – to make any changes, or to use that content in places other than your audio tour.  And it doesn’t expire after a year or two – that applies to the life of the content.

This is the way it was done, at times, in the past. Please do not let this happen again. 

Times have changed. The market is competitive. Production costs have come spiraling down. You can either produce high-quality content in-house or often hire it out for a reasonable price. And you will own the content 100%.  

Owning your content means you have FREEDOM!  It puts you and your organization in control and it means you can get more value out of your audio tour content.  If you have 10 videos that showcase your museum and its collection why not extend the use of those videos to beyond the tour?  You can place them on your website, put them on your organization’s FaceBook page, in email newsletter’s etc.  In this era of mass-consumption of information, content truly is king.  Make sure you own yours.

Have you run into this issue? Where you used a third-party to produce content – and they retained ownership? Any advice you’d give to other folks out there based on your experience?

For more on producing your own content in-house check out our do-it-yourself series.

App Spotlight: HarborArts Shipyard Gallery Walking Tour

10 Jan

If, upon visiting the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina, you noticed that one of the buildings had a large half man, half octopus sculpture on top, your curiosity might be piqued. (The name of the sculpture is Iscariot, by the way, and he’s made of recycled steel and reclaimed wood.) What is a piece of art doing in a marina?

7a9f97bfa0e22021a0aeb534f16fd580b8a98e02a305682c404da510.png.1000x666_q85Iscariot is not alone; the HarborArts project has turned the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina into a veritable art museum, but instead of walking by puzzled, visitors can now access the entire exhibit through their mobile devices on a TourSphere tour, engaging with the work and learning more about the artists.

An interactive map allows visitors to conduct a self-guided tour of more than 30 different pieces of art around the Marina. It also allows HarborArts to engage visitors about its unique mission: to protect and preserve our oceans and waterways by helping each of us to understand the issues and solutions facing our blue planet, using monumental art and public sculpture to raise awareness.

The HarborArts app is a classic example of how a mobile tour can turn what might be a confusing sight to a passerby into an opportunity for engagement with an organization and education about a mission. Further, it provides a virtual tour experience for those who aren’t able to visit the open air museum directly, with excellent photos, background and artist information about each piece of art.

In an effort to also promote the artists featured at HarborArts, the app also provides information about each artist and, when applicable, links to their blogs and websites. For those impressed by the exhibit, they can choose to instantly “Like” HarborArts on Facebook or follow the organization on Twitter, providing immediate interaction and the ability to capture the visitor’s interest before they leave the exhibit. It also provides a donation button embedded into the app, again providing an instant way to access and engage the visitor.

The HarborArts TourSphere app is another creative way for a small nonprofit organization to expand their reach and engagement economically and without hiring staff for tours. If you ever visit the Boston Harbor Shipyard and are wondering about the artwork hidden about, check out the app for the details!

To view the HarborArts Tour, visit http://harborarts.toursphere.com or scan this QR code with your smartphone.

To view the HarborArts Tour, visit http://harborarts.toursphere.com or scan this QR code with your smartphone.

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