MoMA Unveils New Audio+ Guides


A new audio guide from New York’s Museum of Modern Art, accessed via an iPod Touch, offers not only audio commentary but a built-in camera and a way to track museum visitors’ activities.

The museum announced MoMA Audio+ at a press conference Wednesday morning. The mobile guide not only gives visitors access to audio commentaries and additional textual information for selected artworks and exhibitions, but also allows them to take and e-mail photographs and post them to social media sites. A My Path feature summarizes one’s visit, with statistics tracking time spent in the museum and viewing specific works. This summary is also accessible post-visit, as users can e-mail it to themselves.

MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry remarked on MoMA’s initiative “toward the digital museum,” pointing out the 22 million visitors to date to MoMA’s website as proof of the extension of the museum’s presence via the digital sphere.

MoMA’s creative director of digital media, Allegra Burnette, announced that the audio guide is being developed into a mobile app for both iOS and Android, which is expected to be available in spring 2014. Burnette noted that the new audio guides have been extremely popular since their soft launch at the beginning of July; with some 2,000 devices available for use, more than 700,000 photos have already been taken. The photo feature would seem to be at odds with customary restrictions on photographing exhibitions that feature loaned works, but at the press conference museum representatives cited their efforts to have those restrictions lifted.

MoMA’s upcoming retrospective of German artist Isa Genzken, her first in the United States and featuring nearly 150 objects, many of which are on loan, will allow photography, museum representatives said today.