Pocket curator is the culmination of the R&D project ‘Hidden Museum’ looking at mobile in museum spaces that I mentioned in this previous post. Our aim was to better understand how we can use mobile in museum spaces and how it can be leveraged to create ‘heads up’ engagement with collections and displays, rather than ‘heads down’ engagement with the screen.
The R&D project culminated in a prototype app for the Museum of the History of Science, and then we secured modest funding to polish the app for both the apple and android platforms and get them into the app store!
Pocket Curator acts as a multimedia guide, and has a number of the standard features you would expect. One thing that we have done differently is to ‘pringle’ our audio content, breaking it down into a number of 30 second pieces for each object each focssed on a single topic, allowing the user to dip in and explore their interests.
What is a bit special about Pocket Curator are our ineractives, designed to allow the user to ‘try’ some of the scientific instruments on display, gaining a better understanding of how they work, and element that can be very difficult to communicate through static museum displays.
We moved beyond the touchscreen and tool advantage of some of the other tools built into every smartphone sych as the camera, accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer. We used these features to turn the user’s smartphone into a surrogate for some of the objects on display.
For example their device becomes a surrogate for a sextant, and they complete a challenge by tilting the device to mimic the movement of the Sextant’s arm to measure their latitude. Similarly they can use the wireless technology in their phone to take control of Marconi’s wireless apparatus on display in the museum and remotely ring a bell at the opposite end of the gallery, much like Marconi did in his famous wireless demonstration.
The app is designed primarily to work in gallery, but almost all of the interactives can also be used remotely. It is a free app so devfeinitely download it and have a look. Thoughts and feedback very wekcome – we are just entering another evaluation period so it will be very valuable.