Carnegie Museum of Art Universal iOS Application

UPDATE: With the release of version 2.0 of the Carnegie Museum of Art universal iOS app, the museum has introduced several new features and usability improvements, in addition to releasing all underlying code (Rails CMS & Objective-C app) as open-source resources for the community. More info: Go Ahead, Fork Us


It’s no secret the proliferation of mobile devices and persistent connectivity are changing the way we live our lives—it even impacts the way visitors experience a museum. Carnegie Museum of Art’s first mobile application is available for download from the Apple App Store. Having launched this past October, in association with the opening of the 2013 Carnegie International, the museum also makes iDevices available to visitors for use in our galleries (first come, first served). It is our hope that this digital offering will deepen relationships with users via the objects on view at the museum.

A Companion App for Your Museum

Launching with the 2013 Carnegie International, this first version of the CMOA companion app will allow you to learn more about the 35 artists in the exhibition, see an image of every work that will be on view, experience more than 3 hours of related video and audio, explore thematic tours of artworks, and more. The app is a universal iOS application, meaning it is available for iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad. As this has been the museum’s first foray into mobile application development, we chose the iOS platform because we simply needed a solid and stable place to start. The application works on devices running iOS 6.1 or newer, and it is optimized for the recently released iOS 7.

Usefulness and Usability

As we were building the app, we designed it to be useful for visitors in the gallery as well as users experiencing the app from outside the museum. An example of this functionality is the “My Bookmarked Artwork” feature. Think of it as a “Read Later” service for your museum visit. If you’re in the gallery enjoying an artwork and want to learn more about it, but don’t want to experience the content during your visit, you can bookmark that object for revisiting later whenever you’d like. Conversely, you can use the “My Bookmarked Artworks” area to create a checklist of must-see pieces in advance of your next visit to the museum.

Future Growth & Development

This is version 1.0 of the CMOA companion app, and it’s just the beginning. We’re approaching this project as an organic, fluid and agile process. The app will remain in active development as we work to include the museum’s permanent collection and future exhibitions. We also plan to make it available to Android users in short order and rapidly introduce new and interesting functionality as opportunities arise.

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