Congratulations to the staff at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art who have successfully completed their first smart phone tour for the American Modern: Abbott, Evans, Bourke-White exhibition, which will be on view through January 2, 2011. This special exhibition features the work of Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White, and Walker Evans, three American artists who explored documentary photography during the 1930s. This smart phone tour project was part of the 2010 MIDEA mingrants.
A mobi tour was a beautiful setting to provide the audio interpretation of the exhibit. All of the audio tour stops are available online at http://www.cartermuseum.org/exhibitions/american-modern-abbott-evans-bourke-white/audio.
Uniquely, the Amon Carter Education Department headed by Stacy Fuller encompasses visitor services. All involved with the development of the tour trained the visitor services staff on techniques for offering the tour, which is available for free, to every person who walks through the door. Visitor Services also initiated an evaluation method upon each check out of the device to measure the amount of time that the iPod Touch Devices are checked out from the front desk. This gives the education staff a glimpse into the ways that visitors are using the tour. On average, check out time is one hour and 45 minutes. Of course, not every moment is used with the audio guide, but visitors are looking at the artwork and lingering in the gallery space for this prolonged period.
More people than they anticipated have been using the tour. In the month of November, the iPod Touches were checked out 249 times for an average of 1 ½ hours each. (Visitors who use their own devices are not measured in these statistics.) On the outset, they also expected the target visitor for the smart phone tour to be 40 and younger, but they have found that a more diverse age group is eager to use technology to further connect to the artworks on display. Users of the tour range from preteens to octogenarians, which has turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
The Amon Carter plans to continue to develop content for future smart phone tours due to their success with this project. We hope that MIDEA can contribute further to their efforts with mobiles and we applaud their success thus far.