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Basically, stop complaining about smartphones at museums

Basically, stop complaining about smartphones at museums
[Photo: Václav Pluhař/Unsplash]

If you try to snap a photo of the Mona Lisa these days, you’re likely to get a photo of the Mona Lisa and about 52 cell phones. Art enthusiasts like documenting their museum trips on phones, sharing their high-brow pictures on Instagram, and using their phones to astound their friends with super fascinating art history factoids. (Did you know Paolo Uccello hated cheese, like, a lot?)

Despite our global love of smartphones, some museums, curators, and cranky culture types like to complain about people using their phones in museums instead of experiencing the art au natural, so to speak. But a new survey shows that smartphones and mobile technology can actually enhance the museum-going experience.

View larger image here [Image: courtesy of Cuseum]
Cuseum, a Boston-based startup that helps nonprofits and cultural institutions with technology solutions, surveyed museum-goers and found that things like augmented reality and smartphone apps vastly improved the museum-going experience. Here are some of the findings:

  • 91% of people surveyed found mobile technology made it dramatically easier to access information about artists
  • 87% said it enhanced their overall experience
  • 85% said they would recommend the technology to a friend

In short: Phones are here to stay and museums should go ahead and get on board.

Cuseum, which was founded in 2014, has been on a roll lately. It recently used augmented reality to virtually return stolen works of art to Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and earlier this year, it created a virtual tour of the White House,

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