A Case Study Concerning the Streetmuseum Londinium App
While museums have been utilizing user-owned smartphones as interpretation devices for several years, archaeological sites are just starting to utilize smartphones in a similar manner. Though the audience for such interpretation is growing along with smartphone ownership, developing apps and mobile websites can be a costly endeavour; thus, it is important for current attempts at smartphone interpretation to undergo summative evaluations so that those responsible for site interpretation can make informed decisions.
The Streetmuseum Londinium App is one of the first archaeological apps designed as an “in situ” archaeological interpretation tool. As it gives the user considerable control and utilizes multiple forms of media and augmented reality, it is an excellent case study for evaluating the initial interpretative capabilities of smartphones. Using an evaluative approach that includes an online survey, in-depth interviews with recruited participants, and audience research done at the Museum, I am currently investigating both subject specific and affective knowledge outcomes that can result from using the App. While my research is still in its early stages and my methodology has significant limitations due to lack of time and funding, it suggests that smartphone interpretation may have a unique ability to help users construct experiential and spatial understandings of places.
MA Candidate in Cultural Heritage Studies
UCL Institute of Archaeology