Think Like an Explorer with Museum App main content.

Think Like an Explorer with Museum App

by AMNH on

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This week, the Museum officially launched Explorer, a reimagined app that lets visitors personalize their onsite experience using cutting-edge location-aware technology.


Home screen of the app displaying the head and teeth of the titanosaur, along with phone and menu icons.

Developed with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Explorer offers new features and content, acting as a virtual curator by sharing surprising facts and stories based on visitors’ location as they make their way through 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—offers something for all ages and lets visitors discover more along the way. At the blue whale, for example, you 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 underwater song.


Three app screens layered on one another, the top one displaying icons to choose your interests.

“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.”

Other new features in Explorer include the Avatour augmented reality adventure, which lets users “Be the Bear” in the Bernard Hall of North American Mammals by unlocking the animal’s ursine “superpowers” or become a “Dino Detective” in the Museum’s world-famous fossil halls. 

A quiz-based game called Tree of Life connects visitors to the Museum’s scientific mission by helping them discover how all life, from house cats to Homo sapiens, is related. And in-app ticket purchasing lets visitors skip the ticket lines while refined turn-by-turn navigation provides the shortest route to exhibits, cafés, shops, or restrooms.


Cell phone with screen displaying ticket icons and a button to purchase.

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 that specializes in experiences for museums, cultural institutions, and public spaces.