The importance of virtual tours is evident in the comparison of visitors and virtual visitors to the Smithsonian in 2010. There were 30 million visitors, and 180 million virtual visitors. This example shows us how many people are accessing information through the use of technology. They may be using their home computer, or mobile devices. Students from any school may access information from the Smithsonian, regardless of their location.
I found the example of Amsterdam in 1952 using audio tours interesting because today many U.S. museums do not have audio tours, or are beginning to implement audio tours or virtual tours with the use of mobile devices. I thought Nancy Proctor made a great point by saying that with technology/mobile devices increased use and being more available, museums do not have to hand out or purchase the devices, many of the patrons already have them. If the museum relied on patrons to already have mobile devices this would keep their running costs low if they chose to have a virtual/mobile tour. This system would save the museum money because they would not have to purchase devices, train staff, or hire tech support for problems. Patrons could simply download or purchase an app from a site or the museum. However, there would also be the issue of some patrons not owning a device, or that they can’t afford to purchase one. Then the information would not be accessible to everyone.
For the River Street Project, the use of mobile devices is basically a plus, because the mobile device is portable, and users could learn about the project from any location. Also users may read the blog, and later use it as a reference to go to the location at River Street and look at the neighborhood and reflect on how it looks today, compared to images on the blog.
Mobile devices would work well in several subject areas. For example, in a History class if a professor is discussing a specific city or town, the students may look up maps during the presentation to learn more about the region. It is useful to look up information, however some students may get distracted so that would be a drawback.
Public history projects that use mobile devices are basically moving with the times, and making their content more accessible to users. With the portability of the devices, people are willing to look up information they are curious about because it is convenient. The average person who goes to a museum may not find some information they want to know, but with a mobile device they may search the museum apps/directory for topics they want to learn about and do that with their mobile device (a learning tool).
In my opinion mobile devices = winning !