(WHAS11) -- A trip to an art museum usually means paintings behind velvet ropes. But now at least one museum is encouraging patrons to reach out and touch one of their most popular collections with an app. It allows fans of art to have prize pieces with them at all times with just the touch of a finger or the swipe of an iPad.
The majority of what Americans know about most of the nation's presidents comes from monuments, documents and history books. But the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery is taking a different approach, stretching its collection of presidential portraits, way beyond museum walls.
“These galleries are all equipped with public wi-fi and so if you come down with your iPod we wanted to make sure that as you walked around and looked at the portrait of president Kennedy, you could also use your iPod to explore even more content than we are able to show in the label text next to the painting," National Portrait Gallery Associate Director Nick Apostolides.
It's a 21st-century accompaniment to one of the museum's most traditional collections, one that starts with an iconic portrait of George Washington.
“You can explore some other images whether it's the constitution, him on Rushmore, of course the Washington monument, some quotes," Apostolides said.
The goal for this app and a crop of other new museum apps is to bring a gallery off the wall, to wherever you're standing.
“We'd love for everyone to be down here walking the galleries but we know that's not always possible. We wanted to take the best of that experience and put it in an easy, fun, informative and educational app,” Apostolides said. Creating an app that does just that is exactly what they have tried to do, now it’s a matter of sitting back and seeing what kind of impact it has on attendance.
The goal is that the app will increase interest in the gallery, and bring more people through the doors. But, will take some time to determine whether that’s what happens.
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