Art Meets Tech In the World of Museum Apps

A person viewing the Google Arts and Culture app on their phone.

Photo credit: dennizn / Shutterstock

If you haven’t heard of the Google Arts & Culture app, you’ve probably been living under a rock. It’s the #1 most popular educational app in the Google Play store, and enjoying similar popularity in the iTunes store. But there are lots of other art and culture apps, too, often offered by individual museums. Here are several of our favorites.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

This app takes you on a guided tour of SFMOMA’s exhibits. The 15- to 45-minute walks through the galleries and the city’s streets are narrated by a variety of well-known personalities. It even has synced audio that allows social listening, so you can experience the museum with your friends, too. While you’re using the app, check out SFMOMA’s “Erasing the Rules,” featuring the works of Robert Rauschenberg, supported by a variety of generous donors including Thom Weisel, Carol and Lyman Casey, and the Barbra Osher Exhibition Fund. Right now, the SFMOMA app is only available on iOS. Get it here.

Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim’s app can be used in the museum or anywhere you happen to be. It gives you a chance to take a virtual tour of one of the best-known modern art museums in the world. It features detailed information about all the works in the Guggenheim’s collection, and you can even share your favorite pieces of art on social media. The Guggenheim app is only available on iTunes in the U.S.

The great thing about museum apps is that they can take you on virtual tours of museums all around the world. Here are a few international favorites.

The Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum, located in Amsterdam, houses many amazing paintings including Rembrandt’s “Night Watch,” and other artifacts. Using an interactive map with route directions, the app guides you from room to room, and gives you a chance to listen to stories about the works of your choice. You can also access additional commentary by experts and passionate art enthusiasts. The free app is available on iTunes and Google Play.

Museo del Prado

The Prado, located in Madrid, is home to a huge array of masterpieces including “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Bosch and “The Annunciation” by Fra Angelico. Although there aren’t a lot of works available through the app, all of them can be seen in ultra-high resolution, which allows you to discover their hidden details and secrets. The app is currently only available on iTunes (for a cost of $4.50) in the United States.

The Hermitage

The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, is one of the largest museums in the world, home to an amazing number of master works in painting, sculpture jewelry, decorative and applied arts, and unique archaeological finds. The app allows you to enjoy the museum’s masterpieces, learn more about them, and admire the palace interiors of the grand royal residence of Russian emperors. You can even save images you like, start a collection of your favorite art works, or send e-cards featuring those works. The free app is available for Android and iOs.

These are just a few of the many museum apps that are available. Check your device’s store to find apps for other world-renowned museums.

Twins Accidentally Charge $3,000 to Their Mom’s iTunes Account

Kids on iPad

IMG: via Shutterstock

Free games aren’t always free, that’s the lesson Paula Marner learned. The Canadian mother warns parents to be careful with “free” gaming apps for their kids. She recently discovered her 7-year old twins charged $3,000 worth of in-app purchases while playing Clash of Clans on her iPad, according to CBC News.

While many free apps have ways to buy stuff inside the game, most people say no. That isn’t always easy when you are 7 and don’t understand, though. This is unfortunate, though, when the games are designed for children. Games like Clash of Clans, Despicable Me 2, and Smurf’s Village are all “free” apps, but have options to buy things within the game.

If the correct parental permission settings are not turned on, children just have to accept to purchase something. Last September, a 6-year-old from North Yorkshire, U.K. charged $3,244 to his grandfather’s credit card while playing Tiny Monsters.

Apple is in the middle of a class-action lawsuit filed by five parents with similar problems. Apple has issued a notice to 23 million parents who had their kids charge money to their accounts without their knowledge. The lawsuit could cost Apple up to $100 million.

Marner did not participate in the lawsuit, but is getting a full refund, according to CBC News.

Apple Announces Worldwide Developers Conference

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference

Img: Brendan Lynch via Flickr

On June 10, technology giant Apple will kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California. The company, which was recently upgraded by Moody’s bank rating service to level Aa1, will hold the five-day conference at Moscone West.

There, developers from all around the world will gather to learn about iOS and OS X as we move into the future—giving them an insider’s view on what to expect and how to create the best apps and features in the upcoming year. Over a thousand Apple engineers will be present to give technical sessions, hands-on labs, and showcase the year’s best apps.

Tickets for the event went on sale starting Thursday, April 25th and by the following Thursday they were completely sold out. Purchasers were required to be members of the iOS, Developer Program, iOS Developer Enterprise Program, or the Mac Developer Program.

Those lucky enough to have gotten their hands on tickets will have access to a variety of events during the conference. Over 100 technical sessions will be presented on a wide variety of topics; developers can get hands-on assistance with code and development; the best and latest innovations will be showcased for quality, design, functionality and performance; thousands will get the chance to network with fellow developers; and much, much more.

Apple has truly skyrocketed to the top of the technology industry with its innovative designs in the past few decades: iPods, Mac computers, iPads, iTunes, and more have become a leading platform for professionals and casual users alike. One can’t help but wonder what the next year’s worth of innovations will bring. A new product? Exciting new features? We’ll have to wait and see.

iTunes Celebrates 50 Billion Downloads by Giving out $10,000


Img: Jamison Wieser via Flickr

In 2001, Apple changed the way that we buy music. Instead of having to drive to the store to buy a whole album, we could purchase not only that, but individual songs online. iTunes is about to reach 50 billion downloads, and is giving one lucky customer who downloads the latest version of Angry Birds on their iPhone $10,000.

Pretty easy, right? Unfortunately this won’t be a $10,000 check, but an App Store gift card. This person will be set for life with all the apps, movies, and songs that they want. The 50 people after the 50 billionth downloader have a shot to win a $500 App Store gift card as well.

Check out the 50 billion download counter here.

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