Interactive Tour Mobile App

As a person who is blind or low-vision, you might not find museums to be your cup of tea. Traditionally filled with fascinating and historic items for people to explore with their eyes, many people who are visually impaired avoid museums altogether.

But today, with help from technology, the Indiana State Museum is a wonderful place for people who are blind and low-vision to explore with their hands and their ears. Visitors can self-guide themselves on an interactive museum tour using a mobile app.

The app guides visitors through the museum with audio directions, floor indicators, and touchable maps. Hands-on objects, such as a sample of bear fur, are pointed out, and bronze figurines representing what is shown in displays, such as a musk ox with low curving horns, can be felt. Visitors also are guided to other sensory experiences such as audio stories and a smelling station.

How it Works

Visit the ticket counter, where a museum representative will help you download the app onto your own device or check out one of ours to use during your visit. The app is available for download in the App Store under the name Indiana State Museum Guide. You then will proceed on the self-guided tour.

The app itself provides an interactive guide that helps people who are blind or have low-vision navigate the museum independently. It describes key features of displays and summarizes essential points of written labels.

At the beginning of each gallery, there is a tactile map with an overview of that space. A star represents the location of the tactile map and your starting place for that gallery. On the right side of each map is a legend in braille and raised numbers that indicates where specific exhibits are located within the space. And arrows mark the entrances and exits.

The app calls out various tactile and interactive experiences. You’ll also hear about any potential obstacles, obstructions or changes in flooring. Don’t hesitate to reach out with your hands or canes, as fragile objects are well-protected.

Directions will guide you from gallery to gallery, and tactile floor guides will ensure you begin each audio stop at the right place.

When finished listening to an audio stop, press the Next Stop button in the lower right of the screen. This button is easily found using finger gestures.

Currently, the app features tours of the museum’s two newest galleries – Frozen Reign and First Nations – as well as three of the museum’s cultural galleries. More tours will be added to the app as the permanent experiences undergo renovations over the next several years. ­

Below, view screenshots from the app, then visit the museum to take the tour.

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