The free app, known as the ‘Shazam for art’, will enable visitors to fully appreciate the beauty, history and significance of key objects the museum. Around 350 paintings at Kelvingrove Museum can be accessed via the app, which draws information from Glasgow Museums Collections Online. The collaboration is part of a trial exploring digital learning resources, particularly aimed at young adults and schools visiting the museum.
It lets users unlock the stories behind the art by simply scanning it with a smartphone or tablet. The painting is instantly recognised, appearing on the users’ device accompanied by quality-checked information about the work. This removes the need to read, or try to remember, the interpretation panel that often sits alongside an artwork.
Visitors can build a personal gallery on their own smartphone or tablet, accessing artwork after the museum has closed and showing favourite works to friends and family. The global nature of Smartify encourages users to add to their individual collection in different venues across the world.
Smartify is a social enterprise created, with support from Innovate UK and the European Commission, to serve a global community of art venues, artists and art lovers.
It is offered at a growing network of international museums and galleries, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the National Gallery, London.
Councillor David McDonald, Glasgow Life chair, said: “This is a really exciting development for Glasgow Museums. We are delighted to be the first venue in Scotland to join the Smartify community and offer our visitors the opportunity to experience this incredibly intuitive app. Kelvingrove Museum is Glasgow’s most popular attraction, welcoming more than 1.3 million visitors through its doors every year. More and more people have a smartphone with them when they visit.
“Smartify allows you to scan a favourite piece of art and read a little more about the work, it’s really easy to use and you can re-look at the painting once the gallery has closed for the night. It works across different venues, so people can build a unique collection of their favourite works, artist or period of art.”