Museums are right up there with schools and universities as some of the great brick and morter cornerstones of our society. They literally house some of the best works and discoveries of all humankind. For the largest, their collections are immense, most which the public rarely gets to glimpse except on rare occasion. A visit to a museum is one of the great things to do in any big city. However, there is history and discovery outside the walls of museums too. In cities like London, the streets literally are paved with history. And this makes for some rich new media possibilities.
Now, you can see this London history in context using several prominent new technologies which have been pulled together by the Museum of London into their newly released iphone app, Streetmuseum. The app brings together the power of mobile smartphones, geolocation and augmented reality. These are three technology areas that register highly with NMC and its Horizon Reports.
Right now, this app is not available in the US iTunes store. I did not see any information about when it might be available stateside, but if you are in the UK or Europe you should be able to download it for free from these regional iTunes stores. To see more images from the app the CNET UK news article is here.
We may see more of this sort of effort by museums who can use the power of location to add context to their collections which, once digitized, can be applied in applications such as these beyond the walls of the museum. While not every city has the rich history of London, there would be other types of applications such as installed outdoor art that can be augmented with additional information. Such innovations can broaden the reach of a museum’s mission, help gain visitors and move these venerable institutions further down the technology road.