Canadians Should Take Some Direction – Mobile Apps Point to Nearest Gallery or Museum

By: Lee Rickwood

January 30, 2015

About one-third of Canadians (just over 32 per cent) 15 years of age or older, or 7.8 million people, visited a museum way back in 1998.

A dozen years later, research again showed that just over one-third of Canadians 15 or older (36 per cent, or 10 million people) visited a public art gallery or art museum in 2010, including attendance at special art exhibits.

Mobile apps from Canadain museums hope to boost attendance and build community.

Mobile apps from Canadian museums hope to boost attendance and build community.

That’s a flat attendance graph over more than a decade, so Canadian art galleries and museums are pulling out the stops to boost the numbers.

From hot singles nights and fancy parties to the use of high-tech in the building, geo-aware mobile apps outside the building, and social media connectivity in all places in-between, the push is on to grow gallery-going audiences, both numerically and demographically.

Montreal Museums mobile app

Montreal Museums mobile app

In Montreal, for example, nearly 40 cultural institutions have banded together to release a new mobile application for iOS 8 and iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+ devices, hoping to connect with a new tech-savvy crowd.

The new Montréal Museums app lets users explore the city and its many museums, delivering listings, hours and visitor information about the galleries in general, as well as real-time updates about specific exhibits covering a wide range of subjects and topics.

“With close to forty museum members in our network dotted across Greater Montréal, the BMMD is pleased to be offering our Montréal Museums mobile application. It’s a practical, user-friendly app designed to work in real time, letting users quickly find all the nearby museums and exhibitions, wherever they happen to be in the city,” explained Manon Lapointe, Executive Director of the Board of Montréal Museum Directors, for the app’s official release. “Whether they’re interested in art, history, architecture, literature, science, nature, fashion, archaeology, cinema or any other subject, it’s easy for users to find what they’re looking for.”

The Board of Montréal Museum Directors (BMMD) worked with the digital media and ad agency NURUN on the app’s design and development.

“With such functionalities as contextual filtering and the GPS search tool, it’s easy to navigate around the city and find the cultural destination and programming you’re looking for, and most of all, not miss the fabulous museums and everything they have to offer in the city of Montréal,” added Grégoire Baret, the development company’s Executive Vice-President, Strategy and Experience Design.

The app for Ontario museums.

The app for Ontario museums.

With a somewhat similar strategy, the Ontario Museum Association has a mobile app museum guide for the entire province. It too was developed as an informative resource and fun tool to get folks to plan a visit to or discovery of an Ontario museum – and there are hundreds!

So the search tool is pretty handy, letting users search museums by Name, Keyword, City, Type, Region, Driving Distance, or by simply browsing a map.

The app came as part of a bilingual public-focused digital strategy at the OMA, with an integrated website and mobile app to promote Ontario’s museums, galleries, historic sites and heritage organizations.

That list should include the term technology centres! On the list of Ontario museum and gallery destinations, for example, are places of special interest to techno-enthusiasts, such as the Computer Museum, and the Museum of Television.



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