Museum Explorer iPhone App (4 stars)

Museum Explorer iPhone App

A fun, interactive way for kids to engage with the National Museum of Scotland

Scooshing round the Museum of Scotland is a major weapon in the armoury of any Edinburgh-based parent. It’s indoors, fascinating, huge and diverse. What, possibly, could make it better?
'Museum Explorer', a new free smart-phone app published by the museum is what. Developed by Kotikan, 'Museum Explorer' isn’t just a guide, but a stimulus and boost to your enjoyment of a day in the museum.

It’s a simple quest routine, although children under eight will need adult supervision. Choosing from categories such as ‘fiercest’, ‘oldest’, ‘smelliest’ or ‘ugliest’, you are presented with a series of clues to find an object. Once found, a code nearby allows you to unlock a badge on the app, with details of the item and an option to take its (and the finder’s) photo.

The result works exceptionally well. The object and category choices are not just inventive and engaging, but help you to see the museum in a fresh light. It takes a couple of hours to complete – not too long, but enough to be satisfying – and takes you into hidden corners.

Any drawbacks are mainly to do with how 'Museum Explorer' engages with external apps. You can tweet or Facebook the photo badges, but lack of network coverage in the museum doesn’t help. A built-in hashtag would be sensible, as would an android version. Otherwise, it’s a great idea, well executed.

National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.

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