Name: Yours, Vincent: The letters of Vincent Van Gogh
Platform: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
(Requires iOS 3.0 or later)
A while back I discovered that various museums have free apps, and since then I’ve been eagerly filling an iPhone folder with museum guides from around the world. While some, like the Explorer App for the American Museum of Natural History certainly informed my recent visit, others, like Your’s Vincent, make the actual visit icing on the cake.
Pentimento’s Your’s Vincent app created by Antenna Audio for the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam uses Van Gogh’s own letters as a guide to his works. The app combines image, video, and sound into a personalized and detailed examination of the artist and his art.
Organized’ chronologically, the museum website claims that Your’s Vincent “features many of Van Gogh’s sketches and paintings from the Van Gogh Museum collection, video interviews with the museum’s letters experts and new picture galleries that showcase his art.” ‘ Better yet, the app delivers on these claims. The app in engrossing and detailed and is able to stand alone from its exhibit. I have yet to visit Amsterdam or the Van Gogh museum, and this app gets me close to that possibility while still enticing me to actually visit (wistful sigh).’
This is more that a bolstered gallery tour (like one might find with the’ Louvre’s free’ app) and it amazes me that it is available for free. It’s like an entire art history lesson / biography at my fingertips. For more raves, and even some discussion from the app creators, check this ‘ detailed’ review on the MediaCombo blog.
The app is available in Dutch or English, which means, that even though I don’t speak Dutch, I can still access and understand what is being shared. It also means my library patrons (in my case high school students) can also access the information. It means I can approach an art teacher and invite them to share this with their students when they are studying Van Gogh. It means I can approach English teachers to create lessons around letter writing or archiving personal histories. I could teach students to make their own journals which they could use to write down their own thoughts or sketch their own pictures. If I were in a public library, I could create programs around these same areas.
With any of these ideas, I could incorporate digital experiences with those on paper in a possibly seamless way, something it seems libraries are regularly wrestling with these days. And perhaps we could even learn from this app how to make both the physical library visit and the digital/virtual library experience equally unique, necessary, and engrossing.