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Top Museum Apps to bring you closer to art

Originally Posted By Jamie Ayers  | July 12, 2016  | 6-min read
Abs on August 5, 2020  
Top museum apps - Appy Pie

A trip to the museum is a wonderful way of expanding knowledge, but it takes a lot of resources. The most significant factor that prevents more people from visiting museums is the lack of time and expenses involved.

To reach out to a broader audience, museums have begun to adopt the latest technology. Enthusiasts can visit a museum thousands of miles away without ever leaving their homes.

Over the past five years, museum apps have surged in popularity and are now among the most relevant apps for tourists. The best museum apps we list out further ahead in the post stand testimony to the fact that the community of history and art lovers is expanding globally.

You need to identify key aspects of museum experiences and build a museum app that replicates the experience digitally. Plus, museum management bodies can reduce workload and enhance their patrons experience by building feature rich museum apps.

Though museums have often been associated only with artefacts from an era bygone, but it is promising to see in a recent study that about 46% of the participating museums have invested in building a responsive website and about 16% have in-house programmers to create mobile experiences. Take a look at the infographic below to understand how museums are embracing technology.
Best Museum AppsYou Should Check Out - Appy Pie

Let’s check out the best apps for visiting museums and understand how they’re delivering value to the end users. These fantastic museum apps are the perfect examples for anyone looking to build a museum app and can help you understand what works and what doesn’t.

  1. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
  2. The Dutch are known for their rich cultural heritage. Most of the artworks by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh can be seen here.

    The Rijksmuseum app is one of the most elegantly designed museum apps available.
    Rijks museum - Appy Pie

    • Users can purchase e-tickets and swipe them at the entrance from the phone.
    • The Rijksstudio section allows users to scroll through the extensive collection and view them from any angle.
    • The artworks are accompanied by an audio clip that enables the user to better understand its history through commentary.
    • Animation provides an exciting experience.
    • Acts as a personal tour guide app for guided tours of the museum at the user’s own pace.

    This app proves that quality content sourced directly from the museums has many takers. In a world where the idea of mass gatherings is getting re-shaped, the scope for museum apps is massive.

  3. British Museum, London
  4. The British Museum in London has one of the largest collections dedicated to art, archeology, and history dating back 2 million years.
    British Museum Visit, Tours - Appy Pie
    The app has excellent features that allow museum lovers to tour the museum at their own pace.


    • Tours in the app, last from few minutes to two hours. Users can choose the one that perfectly fits into their schedule.
    • Multiple itineraries created by the app developers offer great options. These optimize the user’s time and focus on the most exciting exhibits.
    • The offline version alleviates the fear of losing Wi-Fi connection.
    • Suggestions from fellow users and social media are integrated into updates, allowing continually enhanced experience.
    • A careful mix of free and paid tours makes it a value for money proposition.

    This app monetizes virtual tours and presents massive opportunities for museums to tap into the interest of a larger audience via an app.

  5. American Museum of Natural History, New York
  6. The American Museum of Natural History or AMNH is located in Manhattan, New York City. As the name suggests, it hosts the world’s most premier collection of natural history, including fossils, spectacular dioramas, and also focuses on biodiversity and conservation.

    The official app known as AMNH Explorer, has been around for a decade.
    Explorer - AMNH NYC - Appy Pie

    • Available in four languages – English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
    • Complete integration of augmented reality inside the app. View any display from any angle or height.
    • Tap to reveal an e-article about any exhibit.
    • Follow related links and tours to learn more about a specific field of study.
    • Purchase e-tickets without any hassle.
    • Bluetooth beacon guided turn by turn tour for visitors.
    • Instant social media share.

  7. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), Washington DC
  8. The latest addition to the extensive Smithsonian Museums, the NMAAHC, was the first museum to have a web presence even before it opened.

    The NMAAHC app offers an enhanced experience of American history through the eyes of African Americans.
    NMAAHC Mobile Stories - Appy Pie

    • Filled with video clips and AR to add more interactive elements into the user’s visit.
    • Built-in floor-by-floor map that allows the user to zoom in on any of the eight levels.
    • Information and alerts about upcoming events that a user might be interested in.
    • Users can let friends know about their experience through in-app social media integration.
    • Users can share stories and suggestions with others through the app.

    By focusing on letting users create and share their ideas using the app, the museum has been able to build a community of loyalists and create a mechanism of getting direct feedback from their patrons.

    The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC is the nation’s premier institution for preservation and exhibition of artwork by both American and European artists. There is an attached garden for the display of sculpture.

    The NGA tour guide system app has hundreds of paintings by masters cataloged according to era, genre, medium.
    National Gallery of Art DC - Appy Pie

    • Features 130 of the best artworks by Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Vermeer.
    • Because it’s a multilingual app (accessible in English, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Russian), it enjoys a massive reach.
    • Extensive audio commentary by art experts and museum curators makes it a superb tour guide system app.
    • A section for kids that introduces them to artistic concepts and essential elements of art history.
    • Listing of all upcoming exhibitions and up to date information.

    The app, very smartly, targets an under-served market in their niche – kids who are interested in accessing museum content. Making your app available in multiple languages also enhances its reach.

  9. Walt Disney Family Museum, San Francisco
  10. The remarkable story of Walt Disney is a quintessential rags-to-riches story. While on that path, Walt Disney transformed the landscape of entertainment, right from amusement parks to animations and even wildlife photography. His exceptional achievements are chronicled in detail at the Walt Disney Family Museum.

    The WDFM is easily the best tourist guide app for a Disney lover.
    The Walt Disney Family Museum - Appy Pie

    • Available in 12 languages, including aid for the hearing impaired.
    • Can be used both as a virtual tour guide app as well as by on-premises visitors.
    • Comes with its own podcast linked to Walt Disney FM.
    • Extensive collection of educational tools to spark creativity among the young about the use of art in animation and cinema.

    The museum tour guide app demonstrates how a museum application built around a specific theme can find many takers in a competitive market.

  11. Musée d’Orsay, Paris
  12. Often overshadowed by its more illustrious sibling The Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay on the Left Bank has a priceless collection of French art from the period between 1848 to 1914. Its paintings and sculptures are meant more for the art aficionado and students rather than tourists.

    The Musée d’Orsay app offers fantastic experiences from far away that are just as authentic as being there.
    Orsay Visit - Appy Pie

    • Carefully selected works by the most well-known artists arranged as tours.
    • Tours of varying lengths from few minutes to several hours covering all three floors.
    • Superb audio playbacks and narrations provide brilliant context about the artist and the period.
    • High-resolution images from multiple angles and swiveling point of view presentation.
    • Artist biography and painting style available as pop up.

    We have often heard the phrase ‘content is king’ and this app reaffirms it – a valuable lesson for anyone looking to build a museum app.

  13. Salvador Dalí Museum, Florida
  14. One of the greatest painters of the 20th century, Salvador Dalí, was more than just a man with an outlandish mustache. He was the best-known surrealist, and his interests extended from canvas to sculpture and photography.

    The Dali Museum guide app provides the art lover with a deep dive into the mind of the master painter.
    The Dali Museum - Appy Pie

    • GPS enabled navigation makes it easy to attend guided tours.
    • With augmented reality powering up the app, it is easy for users to learn about the paintings and the hidden subtext.
    • Easy to use event calendar for trip planning.
    • Innovative ‘Nearby’ feature guides users to the best exhibits closest to them.
    • Lets users enjoy a completely immersive experience from afar without stepping out of their homes.

    For someone looking to build a hybrid museum app that offers on-site as well as remote experiences, this tourism mobile app is a good one to emulate.

Key Takeaways

This list of best tourism apps for museums demonstrate the many ways of delivering enjoyable experiences and beneficial services to users. In today’s dynamic scenario, a museum must have a digital presence, and that must include an app. From issuing e-tickets to helping through pre planned itineraries, an app can help unlock the hidden gems of a museum to a visitor. A robust app, followed with a focused app marketing campaign, can get your app all the downloads, likes, reviews, and shares you expect.

Not only is it an essential aid for an on-site visit, but an effective presentation can impress those visiting your exhibitions virtually over the internet from around the globe.

Do you have a collection you want the world to see? Have you ever thought of creating an app of your own? Comment and let us know which features a museum app must have. Even better, build an app and show us!

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Abhinav Girdhar

Founder and CEO of Appy Pie

App Builder

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