Katie takes part in many education programs here at the Museum. Due to a scheduling conflict, she couldn’t attend the last class of MicroMuseum (Paris called!). To make it up, she decided on her own to wrote up this “extra credit” critique of the Louvre’s new Audio Guide on Nintendo 3DS ™ XL. With her permission, I am delighted to share it with you here:
I’m sitting in the Parisian airport about to go home now. Since I did miss class, I did some extra credit. I went to the Louvre yesterday, and they have a pretty intriguing audio guide. It’s actually a Nintendo 3DS!
It comes, with headphones, for 3€. It’s a pretty fascinating tool. The audio information was well produced, you could examine famous sculptures up close (utilizing the device’s 3D tool, which was nice when there were big crowds) and the occasional video was cool, although I don’t know why you’d want to watch a video instead of looking at the art.
What makes it unique is that it has a GPS. The days of getting lost in museums, particularly massive ones like the Louvre and AMNH, will soon be over! With two taps of the screen, it tells you which hall you’re in, with a Birdseye view. Two more taps, and you get directions to restaurants, bathrooms, or particular rooms or works. You could also look up audio guides by call number, and find things to see by medium.
There were a couple flaws. One was that the visuals were pretty shoddy. The virtual sculptures would have been way cooler if they didn’t look like something out of Nintendogs.
Also, only some major works had information available about them away from the exhibit itself. Other halls could be tapped on in the main map screen, but only showed photos of the hall and the room title. And sometimes, audio would be triggered just by stepping into a hall, which was cool at first, except I paused it to share a fact with my mom, and I looked back and it had disappeared 🙁
However in general it was a pretty handy device. I was able to plan a route to what we wanted to see during lunch, and once we got there I had a vague idea of what to expect. It made the labyrinth of the Louvre much less intimidating for a first time visitor. Also, it was waaaaaaaaaaaaay better than the audio guides at the other museums we visited.
Ok that’s my report!