Think Like an Explorer with New American Museum of Natural History App

Explorer Screenshot

Today the American Museum of Natural History launched Explorer, an updated app that lets visitors personalize their onsite experience using cutting-edge location-aware technology. The app, developed with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, enables visitors to think like an explorer by providing unique journeys through the Museum’s 45 permanent exhibition halls. With new features and content tailored to the multi-dimensional ways that people engage with information today, the app acts like a virtual curator, teaching visitors about the surprising facts and stories that underlie the wonder of the Museum.

“For nearly 150 years, the American Museum of Natural History has presented science, nature, and culture in ever-evolving ways that reflect how people discover, access, and interact with information,” said Museum President Ellen V. Futter. “As we continue to forge a new role for museums in the 21st century, technology allows us to more fully create an even more seamless and meaningful experience for our visitors, both onsite and online. In doing so, Explorer fuels the spirit of discovery at the heart of all exploration in ways that are thoroughly in step with our times.”

A wealth of new content, including animations, behind-the-scenes videos from collections and exhibition preparation, archival photos, audio, and quizzes have been added to engage visitors of all ages. At the blue whale, for example, a visitor can use Explorer to find out a real cetacean’s weight in subway cars, learn where to locate its belly button, or even listen to its hypnotic song.

Other new features in Explorer include:

  • The Avatour augmented reality adventure, which lets users “Be the Bear” in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals by unlocking the animal’s ursine “superpowers.” Visitors can also be a “Dino Detective” as they tour the Museum’s world-famous fossil halls 
  • Tree of Life, a quiz-based game that connects visitors to the institution’s scientific mission by helping them discover how all life, from house cats to Homo sapiens, is related as they build their own mammalian tree of life 
  • In-app ticket purchasing that lets visitors skip the ticket lines and receive reminders when a movie, Space Show, or ticketed exhibition is about to start 
  • Refined turn-by-turn navigation that helps visitors find the shortest route to exhibits, cafés, shops, or restrooms

“The new Explorer app offers a unique opportunity for visitors to engage with the extraordinary resources of one of the world’s great museums,” said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We are proud to support this innovative mix of interpretation, information and wayfinding, which will expand access and enjoyment for audiences of all ages.”

“This new release is part of an institution-wide effort to redefine the Museum experience for the digital age,” said Catherine Devine, chief digital officer at the Museum. “It would not be possible without a range of improvements made to our digital infrastructure in recent years, including a network of more than 800 Bluetooth beacons.”

Explorer is available on Apple and Android devices and can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Explorer was developed in collaboration with Local Projects, a design studio specializing in experiences for museums, cultural institutions, and public spaces.

American Museum of Natural History (

The American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869, is one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions. The Museum encompasses 45 permanent exhibition halls, including the Rose Center for Earth and Space and the Hayden Planetarium, as well as galleries for temporary exhibitions. It is home to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, New York State’s official memorial to its 33rd governor and the nation’s 26th president, and a tribute to Roosevelt’s enduring legacy of conservation. The Museum’s five active research divisions and three cross-disciplinary centers support approximately 200 scientists, whose work draws on a world-class permanent collection of more than 33 million specimens and artifacts, as well as specialized collections for frozen tissue and genomic and astrophysical data, and one of the largest natural history libraries in the world. Through its Richard Gilder Graduate School, it is the only American museum authorized to grant the Ph.D. degree and the Master of Arts in Teaching degree. Annual attendance has grown to approximately 5 million, and the Museum’s exhibitions and Space Shows can be seen in venues on five continents. The Museum’s website and collection of apps for mobile devices extend its collections, exhibitions, and educational programs to millions more beyond its walls. Visit for more information. 

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $510 million. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramSnapchat, and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.


The Museum is open daily, 10 am–5:45 pm. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.


Museum admission is free to all New York City school and camp groups.

Suggested general admission, which supports the Museum’s scientific and educational endeavors and offers access to the Museum’s 45 halls including the Rose Center for Earth and Space, is $22 (adults) suggested, $17 (students/seniors) suggested, $12.50 (children) suggested. All prices are subject to change.

The Museum offers discounted combination ticket prices that include suggested general admission plus special exhibitions, giant-screen 2D or 3D film, and Space Shows.

  • Museum Plus One includes one special exhibition, giant-screen 2D or 3D film, or Space Show: $27 (adults), $22 (students/seniors), $16 (children) 
  • Museum Supersaver includes all special exhibitions, giant-screen 2D or 3D film, and Space Show: $35 (adults), $28 (students/seniors), $22 (children)

Visitors who wish to pay less than the suggested Museum admission and also purchase a ticket to attend a special exhibition, giant-screen 2D or 3D film, or Space Show may do so on-site at the Museum. To the amount they wish to pay for general admission, they add $25 (adults), $20.50 (students/seniors), or $13.50 (children) for a Space Show, special exhibition, or giant-screen or 3D film. 

Public Information

For additional information, the public may call 212-769-5100 or visit the Museum’s website at


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