Tate Modern has launched a multimedia tour of the collection displays, the first of its kind in a UK museum. After three years of trials the Bafta award-winning product is now complete.
Delivered on a handheld computer or PDA (personal digital assistant), the tour covers all floors of the permanent collection and includes more than four hours of content about highlights on display. In 2002 Tate was the first museum in the UK to pilot a tour like this and now becomes the first to introduce it as a fully-fledged information tool for visitors. The tour is sponsored by Bloomberg and developed in collaboration with Antenna Audio.
Holding the PDA in the palm of their hand as they walk round the galleries, visitors can see videos and images that provide additional context for the art. They can also take part in interactive games and opinion polls, and play art-related music. If they find an artwork particularly interesting, they can ask the PDA to email further details about it to their home email address.
Highlights of the tour include interviews with artists such as Tony Cragg, Christian Boltanski, Mark Dion, Richard Hamilton, Howard Hodgkin, Miroslaw Balka and Joseph Beuys, as well as video footage of artists at work and interactive games, such as Exquisite Bodies, which was invented by the Surrealists, and a quiz on Andy Warhol's famous aphorisms;
There is a jukebox which includes Jake and Dinos Chapman's specially created soundtrack, the jazz that inspired Jackson Pollock and classical music written for Rothko's paintings.
Alongside the Multimedia Tour, Tate will offer a new tour in British Sign Language (BSL) for deaf people which will be launched on 14 March. Last year, the first trial version of this was extremely popular with deaf visitors, who appreciated being able to access on-demand information in BSL, their preferred language.
Using handheld computers to deliver this range of multimedia content means that visitors have a discreet way of gaining access to the information they choose at their own pace. The content has been carefully created to ensure that the flow of information directs visitors back to looking at the artwork itself, and evaluation shows that the tour encourages users to spend longer in the galleries.
Tate Modern's multimedia tour costs £4.50