The app is designed in the same way as apps for internationally renowned museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim.
The National Ranching Heritage Center (NRHC) at Texas Tech University has introduced an app for mobile devices that will allow visitors to take self-guided tours, learn more about objects in the museum and plan their visit to one of the nation's premier museum for ranching heritage.
The app is designed to make an NRHC visit fun for all ages. It includes a GPS-enabled tour of the historical park and provides information on the 49 structures. Visitors can access as much information as they would like as well as determine their location in the 27-acre park. It also has interactive games such as a history quiz and scavenger hunt for older children and a “critter count” for younger children who may want to count the lizards, jackrabbits and other animals they see in the park.
The app is available on the App Store and Google Play and is free to download.
The app has many of the same features as apps from world-class museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museums and Foundation in New York City. Julie Hodges, Helen Devitt Jones director of education, said planning for the app started in March 2014. The goal was to better meet visitors' needs by going where many visitors already were – smartphones and tablets.
“As usage of digital platforms increase among consumers, NRHC and other cultural institutions are working to find ways to meet the evolving needs and expectations of their audiences,” Hodges said. “By meeting these needs and expectations we can create a more interactive experience, attract new visitors and provide supplementary information about artifacts, historic structures and exhibitions.”
The app also has a postcard feature with branded frames so visitors can get a fun picture of themselves to upload to social media and share with friends and family.
The app is helpful before and after a visit to the NRHC as well. Visitors can join the Ranching Heritage Association, view upcoming events on the interactive calendar and find nearby restaurants, hotels and other points of interest.
“Technology is a powerful educational tool,” Hodges said. “Children have a natural affinity for it. Countless studies and scholarly articles argue that integrating technology into learning is central to creating the meaningful learning opportunities that will engage and motivate youth.”
The NRHC received a grant from the Amon G. Carter Foundation to develop the app and a grant from the South Plains Foundation for the purchase of 20 iPads for school groups visiting the center.