Just Because the Dinosaurs are Old Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Have Cool Gadgets

Getting around any museum in New York can be tough—not everyone can be as easy as a giant one-way spiral. But for those of you without an apprehension about technology, a couple museums are making it easier.

The brain trust over at the American Museum of Natural History have created a cool new iPhone application (or app, as the cool kids like to say) that will guide you through the museum. Where is the brontosaurus? Use the room-by-room GPS and directions to get you there. Want to listen to a tour? They’re all uploaded, and even mix and match exhibits to create your own tour. There’s fossil trivia, more information on each exhibit, and links to social media.

South toward midtown, the Museum of Modern Art has launchedtheir own app this week, also hoping to make a more interactive museum experience. The app also comes with their world class tours pre-installed, as well as a reference to every item in the collection. You can also check their film screenings, hours, and take “snaps,” photos you can send to your friends as postcards.

Initially, this might seem like a questionable idea. Why would someone want to go to a museum and then spend the entire day staring at their phone instead of the exhibits?

However, students at Columbia are too smart to sit all day staring at their phones (which US News confirms!). And the benefits are very cool—you can do your own tour without the hassle of being part of a big group, and maybe get some hints on that Anthropology and Art History paper you’ve been researching (though the app is certainly not a replacement for going). Best of all, they are both free, meaning you won’t have to break open your online penny jar to start using them.

Hopefully, this will bring in a few more visitors and change the statistics that the museum collects about how you interact with the art. And remember, access to the MoMA is free withPassport to New York, and the American Natural History Museum is suggested donation.

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Peter Labuza, CC’11

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