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Beacon Talk: “Hear Margaret talk about some of her favorite Egyptian funerary objects.”

Priceless artifacts aren’t the only invaluable components of museums; volunteers and docents are an irreplaceable force in many of our favorite cultural spaces. Often these people provide an unforgettable experience for visitors. Their stories and familiarity with objects can make an object relevant by providing a point of view other than curatorial. “Hear Margaret talk about some of her favorite Egyptian funerary objects” is one of the push notifications a visitor receives when using the Encurate powered mobile app at The Oriental Institute and Museum at The University of Chicago.

The ‘Stories from the Docents’ tour is an audio tour in the Oriental Institute Museum’s mobile app. This docent authored and narrated tour presents docents’ favorite objects throughout the museum’s collection with an audio clip of the docent explaining why that particular object is their favorite. Visitors who choose to take this tour are alerted with push notifications from beacons associated with an object when they’re near a docent favorite, and can listen to the audio by opening the push notification. Using beacons provides a new way to deliver audio, rather than having to search for the objects on a traditional audio guide and then find a number to type in.

We wanted to make sure that audio tours could easily be added to your museum's mobile app when using the Encurate content management system, and that's exactly what we did. Drag and drop an audio file to add it to any point of interest to create an audio tour throughout your galleries. Do you know what your volunteers' favorite objects are? Maybe they're visitor favorites too. A docent or volunteer authored audio guide is an excellent example of using your museum's mobile app to provide new stories and new perspectives about your museum's collection.

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