SAN FRANCISCO (October 29, 2015)—The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are pleased to unveil the official de Young Museum app. The de Young collaborated with Guidekick, a local start-up that offers a mobile application platform focused on visitor experiences to create an app that takes advantage of Apple’s indoor positioning technology to improve visitor experience. The de Young is the first museum to take advantage of this new technology.
“We’re thrilled to help pioneer the future for museum experiences at the de Young here in the innovation capital of the world, San Francisco,” said Mark Paddon, CEO of Guidekick. “The stunning architecture was the perfect application for our 3D mapping and new indoor location technologies have allowed us to truly reimagine the ideal visitor experience.”
The de Young Museum app serves as a personal tour guide for museum-goers, featuring a 3D map of the building that pinpoints a visitor’s location to ease navigation and way-finding. The app also offers thematic tours of the permanent collection using images and audio from the museum’s curatorial team. This original content is available exclusively through the app.
The app allows a user to select a thematic tour that carefully leads them to a curated selection of works, or to navigate the galleries more freely, as location-aware alerts notify them when they pass by key artworks. The app includes selections from the museum’s collection of art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; early American and contemporary American art; and special features on the unique architecture of the building.
Unlike many audio tours the de Young app automatically triggers content without requiring the visitor to take an additional action, such as typing a number or scanning a code. The app has also been carefully designed to help visitors engage with artwork without visual distraction, and to avoid disrupting the experience of other patrons. Users put the phone to their ear to trigger the recording, which then plays privately, mirroring the receiving of a phone call.
The app also offers insights into the visitor experience, helping the de Young to build richer, more tailored experiences for visitors.
“Our museums are determined to take best advantage of the Bay Area’s strong focus on technological innovation,” said Gary Castro, chief information officer of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “We’ve already begun work on an app for the de Young’s sister museum, the Legion of Honor, and our experience here will help inform the development of all kinds of new digital tools.”
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Guidekick is a platform for the world’s attractions (museums, monuments, parks) to provide stunning native mobile apps to their visitors. The app transforms the on-site experience by providing intelligent indoor and outdoor navigation, and delivering content based on a visitor’s location. Attractions receive powerful cloud based tools and analytics, providing deep insight into visitor behavior. Guidekick Inc. (www.guidekick.co) is a San Francisco based technology company founded in 2014. The company is backed by 500 Startups and is partnered alongside top art institutions including the Hearst Castle, de Young, and Legion of Honor.
About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, is the largest public arts institution in San Francisco.
The de Young originated from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition and was originally known as the Memorial Museum. Thirty years later, it was renamed in honor of Michael H. de Young, a longtime champion of the museum. The present copper-clad landmark building, designed by Herzog and de Meuron, opened in October 2005. It showcases the institution’s significant collections of American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 17th to the 21st centuries; art from Africa, Oceania and the Americas; costume and textile arts; and international modern and contemporary art.
The Legion of Honor was inspired by the French pavilion, itself a replica of the Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris, at San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. The museum opened in 1924 in the Beaux Arts–style building designed by George Applegarth on a bluff overlooking the Golden Gate. Its holdings span 4,000 years and include European painting, sculpture and decorative arts; ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; and the largest collection of works on paper in the American West.
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