I really enjoyed the reading about the app Art++ in “Next Practices in Digital and Technology,” by the Association of Art Museum Directors. I feel as though the decision of the designers and developers to use an app on one’s smart phones or tablets to better augment the museum experience is a progressive step into the future. By creating an app that acts as an interactive tour guide and identifier of art pieces and provides explanations of the different works, Art++ gives visitors the ability to engage with the pieces in a way beyond just walking past them in the museum space. This creation highlights what our class discussed about museums trying to make themselves into an experience that is more accessible to everyone in the public sphere. Although these apps definitely are a good start, as they allow those with smartphones to learn more about the spaces they are stepping into, it still only caters to those in society who can afford a smartphone in the first place. So although technology allows the museum to take the first steps in stepping down from its elitist roots, the museum still has a ways to go in ensuring that it is an experience that can be understood and appreciated by anyone.
To be honest, I’m not sure if technology can ever fully bridge this gap. Although technology can pave the way for a more universal experience at a museum, the museum itself can never remove itself from the fact that it is an institution that requires a certain level of status and cultural knowledge to be understood and appreciated. If anything technology might further complicate the idea of a museum, as it changes the definition as well as the creation of things that are considered “art” in the first place.
Here’s a link to the app’s website if you want to check it out: