The Art Institute of Chicago is pleased to announce the launch of the FREE MUSEUM TOUR APP called “Art Institute of Chicago Tours,” a free “indoor GPS” app for Apple and Android devices that presents 50 rich and varied tours of all the public spaces in the museum and its thousands of works on view. The custom tours offer information on more than 300 works of art, 50 different ways to organize a visit to the museum according to a visitor’s interests, and turn-by-turn navigation, made possible by the museum’s new complimentary and open Wi-Fi network and “indoor-GPS” software. The “Art Institute of Chicago Tours” app allows museum-goers to explore unfamiliar parts of the museum, learn more about their favorite works and artists, and plan personalized visits to the museum.
There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by the treasures of the Art Institute of Chicago! Use our new free app to follow your own individual interests, learn about art, and enjoy one of the world’s greatest art museums. The FREE app offers:
- 50 personalized tours, each featuring 6 to 10 works of art, with brief entries that explain each work’s connection to a theme or its significance in the history of art
- Several different types of tours:
- Collections: explore most of the museum’s major collections such as Impressionist art, contemporary art, or African art.
- Themes: focus on topics such as Chicago artists, self-portraits, children in art, or the architecture of the museum.
- Time or Occasions: choose tours by the amount of time you have—an hour, two hours, a full day—or by occasion, such as relaxing on your own or impressing your out-of-town guests.
- Step-by-step directions from one artwork to the next, available both as guided maps through the museum’s galleries and simple listed instructions
- Information on and directions to the museum’s current special exhibitions
- Access to explore the collection further through our online database where you can see multimedia resources or search for other artworks close by or for works by the same artist
Map apps that help smart phone users get around outdoors are consistently the most popular in the app stores. Venues such as art museums have long hoped to provide a similar experience indoors, but have faced barriers from the technological limitations of satellite GPS. With its new Meridian-powered app, the Art Institute of Chicago becomes the first art museum in the world to offer visitors an “indoor GPS” app for both iPhone and Android. The Art Institute of Chicago’s app will give visitors that familiar glowing blue dot on the map, guiding them to art works, facilities such as restrooms and checkrooms, and more.
“While we treasure works of art from the past, we’re also mindful that we need to ensure that these works remain relevant and accessible in the present,” said Douglas Druick, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute. “Installing a Wi-Fi system throughout our museum—even the 120-year-old original Michigan Avenue building—allows us to now offer visitors an experience of the museum that is shaped around their interests. We’ve created an array of tours that will hopefully satisfy everyone—from a family in the museum for the first time to those interested in diving more deeply into specific collections to visitors who want to see works created specifically by Chicago artists. With this app and our Wi-Fi network, we’ve taken an exciting step in making it possible for our visitors to have personalized experiences at the museum.”
The complimentary app, developed by the Art Institute using Portland, Oregon–based Meridian’s indoor-GPS software, is available from the App Store for Apple devices and from Google Play for Android devices. Its 50 tours are organized into three categories: “occasions,” themes, and collections. The “occasion” tours navigate visitors through a first date, family visit, relaxing solitary time, or impressing out-of-town guests. The “occasion” tours also offer timed tours for visitors depending on how long they plan on spending at the museum—whether an hour or a full day. The themed tours organize works of art around 25 common ideas or features, including Chicago artists, children in art, fashion in art, the architecture of the museum, special frames around the museum, and self-portraits throughout the collection. And the collections section includes 15 tours of the museum’s permanent holdings by subject area, such as American folk art, contemporary art, African art, arms and armor, Renaissance and Baroque art, and Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art.