The museum has launched its first mobile application for iPhones and iPads, which also coincides with the availability of free Wi-Fi in the facility. The newly-installed Wi-Fi and mobile application were made possible by AT&T and Cisco, along with Crawford Media Services and Meridian.
“It started because one of our board members works for AT&T and they were just going to wire the building [for Wi-Fi],” said Jules Dykes, vice president of marketing. “And he was able to turn it into more than Wi-Fi. So in early June we starting going through the process.”
She added the moments leading up to the app’s launch have been accelerated, especially with the amount of information needed within its mainframe.
How The App Works
It uses intelligence of the network to collect and deliver information to visitors and allows them to experience exhibits in new ways, according to a news release.
The app can use GPS signals to pinpoint the location of the users and guide them to their desired location within the museum. It will even alert them when they have reached their destination.
One of the first attractions to the app is the Paleontologist Journal, which features audio, video, touch-screen interaction, animation, sketchbook activities and question and answer challenges. Visitors have a certain number of cards to unlock for every stop they make within the journal and at the end they can collect a dinosaur coin reward in the museum gift shop.
Both Brandi Berry, director of public relations, and Dykes commented that homeschool groups as well as those on field trips would greatly benefit from the hands-on interaction of the app — especially those who have iPads.
“It makes it more engaging to have someone guiding you through,” said Berry. “It’s like having a gallery guide and expert at the same time.”
If printed out, Dykes said the app would feature more than 200 pages of information that was collected.
“As one of the first museums to use context aware and location-specific apps, we see a great opportunity to inspire visitors with modern engagement,” said Jennifer Grant Warner, Fernbank’s senior vice president and chief programming officer, in a statement.
There will be an Android application available in the coming weeks. And Dykes said more ‘journals’ will be released in 2013.
Text “Fernbank App” to 99000 for a link to download the Meridian app.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History is at 767 Clifton Road, NE, Atlanta
Contact: (404) 929-6300 or visit www.fernbankmuseum.org