Whether you’re taking the kids on a trip to a new city or enjoying a staycation at home, I can’t recommend museum apps more highly. You’ll find great apps to help you find museums in your city (ideal for rainy days), as well as apps to guide you through specific museums, like the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago. Here are a few of my favorite iPhone apps to help you and your family find and make the most of local museums and works of art.
- Museum Locator: I love this free app because it automatically finds nearby museums based on your current location (using the built-in GPS). I’m in Boca Raton, Florida right now, and the app quickly pulled up several museums that were new to me, including the Boca Express Train Museum, Boca Raton Children’s Museum and the Ft. Lauderdale Antique Car Museum. Plus, the app shares hours, prices and the website address for each museum, and I could quickly get directions using Google Maps too.
- Museum Finder: This free app automatically sorts nearby museums into various categories, like children’s museums, fine art museums and natural history museums, making it easy to find museums that will be a great match for your kids. The app also shares the distance you are from the museum and connects to Google Maps for directions to each museum.
- CultureNOW: This $1.99 app is a neat one to have on your iPhone when you’re out and about and stumble upon interesting works of art or galleries. This app puts thousands of sculptures, studios and streetscapes at your fingertips, as well as maps, tour routes and even podcasts in some cases.
There are also a growing number of apps dedicated to a specific museum. Here are a few worth checking out next time you find yourself in one of these cities.
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art: This wonderful free app for the largest art museum in the western United States offers an interactive map of exhibitions, gallery tours and up-to-the-minute information on what’s happening at the museum. You can even buy tickets right from your iPhone.
- Museum of Modern Art (New York): Use this free app to find out about current exhibitions, learn about artists, search works on display at the museum and more. You can also take mobile audio tours using the app, so don’t forget your ear buds. I especially love that they have special audio tours on the app for both kids and teens, offering new ways to explore the works of art.
- Musee du Louvre (Paris): Even if you can’t make it to Paris, this app will make you feel as though you are there. But if you are in France, this free app will help you plan your visit and provides a variety of video tours worth checking out before you arrive. You’ll also find plenty of details on each work of art, including location in the museum and information about the painting or sculpture.
- Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR): Get hours, admission fees and dates/times of family tours and free days at the Portland Art Museum right from this no-cost iPhone app. Check out museum maps by floor and play videos on many pieces in the collection right from your iPhone.
Next time you visit a new city or even plan a museum visit in your own home city, be sure to visit the museum’s website to see if they have any apps available to help guide you through their museum.