A Brooklyn Museum App Encourages Visitors to Ask Questions

  • 2016-07-29
  • Hyperallergic

In May, the Brooklyn Museum launched the new Android version of its ASK app, a mobile application that enables visitors to interact with the museum’s audience engagement staff in real time. Once on-site visitors have downloaded the app to their phones they are able to ask questions about specific objects, get directions to other areas of interest, or carry on a conversation about issues that pertain to any aspect of their experience in the museum. While the press release written by the museum typically lauds the innovation as setting “a new standard in museum visitor engagement by leveraging technology,” in using it myself I was impressed by the way it really did allow my experience with objects to be more intimate. On the occasion of the inauguration of the Android version (the iOS version was released last year), I spoke with Sara Devine, the manager of audience engagement and interpretive materials about how the app was developed. Devine tells me that the process for developing Ask started about two years ago with Shelley Bernstein (since departed for the Barnes Foundation), and that it was through that process that “audience engagement” became part of her official title.