Kajsa Hartig

A blog about Cultural Heritage and Digital Communication

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Museum apps for kids – part I

Buildo Museum by Jajdo

The "museum building" has the look of an old Hitchcock house, or the house of the Addams family. Apart from the settings, the functions and usefulness of this app makes it worth a try.

Using apps to connect kids with museums is something I believe we will see much more of in the years to come. Either as a way to teach and discover topics related to school, or just as a way to build relationships – with parents who appreciate great apps for their children, or with kids who start discovering the museum.

One app I tried recently is NOT a museum app, despite its name: Buildo Museum, by the Swedish app company Jajdo. But it has features which are interesting from a museum perspective.

Jajdo has created a series of apps, very playful ones for the youngest. It’s like a sticker book, where you can grab different items (people, buildings, vehicles, tools etc.) and move them into a setting. There are usually three different settings, all connected to the main theme of the app.

The child can easily create settings with a wide variety of stickers that can be moved around, rotated and changed in size.

In Buildo Museum there is a museum building with three different floors available, the attic, the exhibition hall and the basement. The creators of the app have added a spooky feeling and there are ofcourse skeletons, spiders, cobwebs, ghosts, bats and the odd thief hanging around the museum. The ”stickers” can be easily moved around, the size can be altered and they can be rotated. They make noise when moved around and some have moving parts (eyes that move in a painted portrait etc.).

There are a few ”museum items” like paintings and statues as well, but apart from that, it’s very lightly connected to the museum world. From a museum perspective it’s more of a remix/fantasy world than a real museum experience. But again, it’s not a museum app in the sense of being produced by a museum.

The strong features of this app is that it’s well produced, great graphic design and illustrations, quality sound and it’s fun for kids. It’s easy to be creative, make unique settings and create stories. The stories can be saved for the next time or just reset to start over.

There are clear instructions in the "Mum and dad zone" in the app.

Shortly, it’s an app that appears to be very simple but actually delivers everything it sets out to deliver. And the concept of the app, as I mentioned earlier, is being used in a series of apps by Jajdo which gives a sense of recognition. The user knows what to expect.

For a museum it’s interesting to see how museum objects can be turned into something playful for kids, and at the same time be a part of a learning experience. For example recognize well known works of art, interact with a museum environment in a playful way.

I think it would be interesting to see this concept taken a few steps further, displaying an actual existing museum, connecting the content with the real museum experience and adding a few learning experiences relating to the real museum objects.

So far creating apps is quite expensive, hopefully in the years to come we’ll see more of museum apps that can be useful to children in different ways and extending the museum to a mobile experience. Buildo Museum is a great example of how this could be done.

Get the app: http://itunes.apple.com/app/buildo-museum-sticker-book/id488521193?ls=1&mt=8

It’s available for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. It’s free until February 6.