Melbourne Museum launches app world-first

Grace Robinson
18 February, 2011
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To coincide with the celebration of its tenth birthday, Melbourne Museum has launched  ‘Please touch the exhibit’ – an intriguing new iPad app – with plans to unveil another in coming months. The Museum was one of the first in the world to release an app that lets users get up close and personal with its exhibits.

Please touch the exhibit takes users on a tour through 10 Melbourne Museum experiences. The app grants  virtual visitors access inside the glass display cases, to create an interactive experience with the assortment of the museum’s objects on show.

“The iPad is a fantastic tool for learning and offers a new and incredibly rich, engaging way for people all around the world to interact with our Museum”, said Timothy Hart, Museum Victoria’s Director of Information, Multimedia and Technology.

“We’re really delighted to be celebrating the Museum’s tenth birthday with a glimpse of how new technologies might shape the way we experience museums in the future.”

Multiple screens and a variety of activities enable users to  explore some of Melbourne Museum’s iconic objects, like Phar Lap and the Museum’s skeleton of a blue whale.  Other collections featured in Please touch the exhibit include:Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, the Forest Gallery and the Melbourne Story exhibition.

Originally the app was intended for a Victorian audience, but in the first month of its launch Please touch the exhibit had racked up 4000 downloads from local and international users in places as far as China, Brazil the US and UK.

The app on iPad has expanded Melbourne Museum’s reach to a much wider audience who can learn more about Victorian history and it’s context in the international space.

‘The whole idea is that the museum is no longer confined to its walls’, Jareen Summerhill, Online and Social Media Coordinator for Museum Victoria told Australian Macworld.

‘It’s about going out to where the people are and taking our content to them. Of course, nothing can replace standing in front of a piece of art, you can’t replicate that but you can give an idea and that was the focus of the app’.

With the success of Please touch the exhibit, Melbourne Museum is getting ready to release a second app in the coming months.

Summerhill revealed to Australian Macworld that the new app will feature science related content and will be available to download on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Please touch the exhibit is available to purchase on iTunes App Store.

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