The Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) has launched an iOS app called MAGart, becoming the first Rochester museum to develop a smartphone app. The app, which is free and available in the iTunes App Store, allows users to explore the Gallery’s collection by searching objects from the Ancient World, Asia and Medieval and Renaissance Europe collections by culture, time period or title. Users can then access information about the pieces and take pre-selected tours.
One of the app’s most touted features is “hot spots,” which reveal more information about a selected work. Additional features include gallery floor plans, audio commentary about selected works, visitor information such as museum hours, admission fees and exhibitions, links to the Gallery Store and “collection connections” that show links between different parts of the museum.
“[MAGart] is a response to new technology that can enrich and enhance a visitor’s museum experience,” MAG Director Grant Holcomb said. “From providing in-depth information on a particular object to general information regarding the Gallery’s floor plan, hours and restaurant, the MAG app is another strategic tool in making the museum more accessible to the general public.”
MAGart was funded by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Museums for America program and was originally designed for educators. MAG’s Education and Curatorial departments were primarily responsible for the development of the app, according to Holcomb, who said it will appeal to a broad array of MAG patrons — students, educators, the general public and younger children, “given their knowledge of and interest in such technology.”
The app is currently compatible with all iOS devices. An Android app is scheduled for release in 2013. Future updates to the app will bring in additional art from the Gallery as well as from the new Centennial Sculpture Park, slated to open in October 2013.
As MAG launches itself into new technological realms, progress on the Centennial Sculpture Park is also progressing. The park, which is slated for completion in 2013, will include more than 20 sculptures, new gardens and a walkway made of words through the central museum thoroughfare.
In recent weeks, controversial Brooklyn-based artist Tom Otterness completed his sculpture, “Creation Myth.” His commission provoked ire among some museum patrons; Otterness earned a dubious fame after fatally shooting a dog while making a film in 1977. Rochester veterinarian Michelle Brownstein started a petition called “Rochesterians Against Tom Otterness,” which demands that MAG decommission the artist. The petition has received 4,000 signatures to date.
Artist Jackie Ferrara’s “The Rochester Project,” which will also be part of the park, will be completed within the coming year, and Albert Paley’s and Wendell Castle’s sculptures will be installed in the summer of 2013.
Buletti is a member of the class of 2013.