Tate gallery to roll out iPhone exhibition tours

The Tate has created a multimedia tour for the Apple iPhone that may soon banish the humble exhibition audio tour to the dustbin of history.

Tate Media, the gallery’s London-based content and creative arm, recently began work on a free gallery download for Tate Britain’s forthcoming Turner Prize exhibition, after demand for its Gustav Klimt pilot exceeded all expectations.

Visitors to the Klimt show can download the interactive content to their iPhones via the gallery’s wi-fi network, or hire a device at the gallery for £3.

Will Gompertz, director of Tate Media, says the experience far surpasses conventional audio tours because users can surf their own way through a show.

The content has the added advantage of being usable for the gallery’s website and installations, and can be linked to other sites and blogs. It also enables superfluous exhibition graphics to be reduced, he says.

‘The iPhone tours are not only fully audio-visual but they are completely relational to the user. Rather than being a oneway experience, you can navigate your own story and jump from one thing to another as you choose,’ he says. ‘There are queues every day for the 50 devices at Tate Liverpool, and visits have soared from 45 minutes to three hours since we introduced them,’ he adds.

The research and content for future gallery tours is being handled by Tate Media’s inhouse design team led by Jane Burton, from headquarters at Tate Britain, in south-west London.

Separately, Tate Media has announced plans for a collaboration with ITV’s The Southbank Show, a series of programmes with Channel 4 and a joint production with Aardman Animations.

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