When we open ourselves to art, we open ourselves to the world – to beauty, craft, to different cultures, to pain and pleasure, expression and emotion.

Explore the Gibbes with Our New Mobile App

One project that has been on our radar here at the Gibbes for years is developing a mobile app aimed at delving deeper into the collection. Long-time visitors and members may remember that before the renovation, the Gibbes offered a cell phone audio tour of a number of pieces in the collection. This was always well received by visitors, but after the renovation was completed two years ago, we decided it was time to implement some of the advances in app technology into the Gibbes Museum experience.

After much research into the types of apps designed specifically for museums, we decided upon Cuseum, a software company who works exclusively with cultural institutions to create a variety of audience engagement products, including mobile apps. The Curatorial and Education departments then set to work learning the ins and outs of how the platform worked and most importantly, developing content and compelling stories from the collection to share with visitors.

Most of the pieces you see on the walls here at the Gibbes lived fascinating lives before reaching the Museum, and it’s those untold stories we wanted to be able to share. Curators are limited in what they can fit onto a small object label, so developing this mobile app was a chance to expand upon those histories and stories. Looking back through the artist files on Sam Doyle (American, 1906 – 1985) for example, we located a photograph of Doyle at his “Out Door Art Gallery” with his painting of Dr. York Bailey in the background, propped against a fence, which now hangs in the Modern and Contemporary Gallery on the 2nd floor.

Sam Doyle with his painting of Dr. York Bailey at his “Out Door Art Gallery”, which now hangs in the Modern and Contemporary Gallery at the Gibbes Museum.

Connecting these works of art with their history and being able to share that with visitors is one of the best parts of implementing this technology, and one of the most rewarding.

As more visitors download and experience the mobile app, we hope to gain feedback on what visitors enjoyed learning about, and what they would like to see more of. The possibilities are endless with a collection the size of the Museum’s and there are so many stories still waiting to be expanded upon. We will continue to create more stops in the app over the next few months and as objects rotate in our permanent collection, and in our special exhibitions. There is currently a separate tour of the Dark Place of Dreams: Louise Nevelson with Chakaia Booker, Lauren Fensterstock, and Kate Gilmore exhibition, which provides more information on the four artists featured in that show.

There are two ways to access the mobile app: you may either download the app in the App Store (search for The Gibbes Museum of Art), or it can be accessed through a web browser at www.gibbesmuseum.org/app. Check it out today!

-Amanda Breen, Assistant Curator

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