Tour Arctic Museum Exhibition with Student-Designed iPad App

Story posted June 22, 2011

Is your spirit helper a polar bear or a snow goose? Can you tell an ulu from an amouti? The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum’s new interactive iPad tour for kids will take you on an exciting journey to discover the answers to these and other questions as you explore the exhibit, Imagination Takes Shape.

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Bowdoin students Nick Riker ’12 and Ben Johnson ’11 have teamed up to develop this innovative approach to an Arctic Museum visit.

Designed to appeal to children between the ages of eight and 12, the tour introduces them to Kiviuk, an Inuit hero whose adventures are the subject of many pieces of art in the current exhibit.

The tour guides children through the exhibit, highlighting pieces relating to Kiviuk’s life. They must correctly answer questions along the way, and at the end of the tour will learn what animal acts as their personal spirit helper.

Riker, supported by a Gibbons Summer Research fellowship, spent the summer of 2010 at the Arctic Museum working with museum staff to develop a project that would appeal to children visiting the exhibit. When the interactive tour was ready, he handed his work over to Johnson, who developed the app. Johnson learned to program apps with the support of a Gibbons Summer Research fellowship in 2010 and applied his skills to this new project.

Museum visitors can sign out iPads at the front desk of the museum, or download the free app from the Apple iTunes App Store and come to the museum with their own iPad.

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