It’s Saturday morning and you’re in NYC (or very close by) and thinking about what you can do this weekend… if you have the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new app on your iPhone or iPad, you could take a look through there and see what’s on at the mothership on Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street or a bit farther north at The Cloisters, that glorious medieval oasis. I did just that a few minutes ago and texted a friend who lives near Fort Tryon Park to tell her about some Gallery Talks happening there.
The Met Museum App was launched this Tuesday and that same day it was the 2nd most popular item in the Apps Store.
In laying out the main goal of the new app, museum director and CEO, Thomas Campbell said “We want to provide users the information they need quickly and easily – and according to their curiosity – so they can tailor their visits most meaningfully.”
Campbell extended his thanks to Bloomberg Philanthropies, “…an extraordinary, forward-thinking partner in many of the Met’s initiatives, including the audio guide, the rooftop garden installation, and this new, innovative app.”
He then turned over the floor to “another forward-thinking individual, our Chief Digitial Officer, Sree Sreenivasan.”
Sreenivasan gave an overview of the work he and his team do on social media (which garnered the Met a Webby award for their presence on Instagram). In observing that many of the sites were blocked in China, he explained “We started a Weibo account so we can reach Chinese-language visitors in China and the diaspora. With our work on social media we wanted to get more of our audiences thinking about, sharing and connecting with our art.”
In June the Met was declared to be the most influential museum Twitter account, according to Spain’s La Magnetica. (Having known the CDO from years ago, through his work as one of the founding fathers of the South Asian Journalists Association and as professor at Columbia’s journalism school, I think Sree himself could be eligible for a similar award.)
Sreenivasan then brought up the former mobile technology consultant who now leads the Met’s mobile efforts, Loic Tallon.
According to Tallon, these criteria served as the guiding design principle for the team’s work over the past year on the app:
Here’s a photo I took of the page about the Ragamala exhibit currently on at the Met:
Just look at the sharpness, the clarity, the detail!
After the press conference, everyone headed to the Temple of Dendur for a concert by indie band Interpol, whose first album in four years – El Pintor – will release next year.
And yes, there’s even a screen on the app that shows you the most recent posts on social media about what’s happening at the Met:
Now, I can’t wait for the Android version next year.