Go Arts: Museum Week Northwest to offer weeklong celebration of state’s museums, along with a smartphone app to put it all in your pocket

Tacoma News TribuneMarch 13, 2014 

For one week in May over 50 of Washington state’s museums will come together to offer a festival of special discounts, programs and outreach, made portable for visitors via a smartphone app. Museum Week Northwest is an inaugural event held in conjunction with the Alliance of American Museums conference, taking place this May in Seattle. Institutions from the Museum of Glass and Tacoma Art Museum to smaller museums in Bellingham and Port Townsend will show off their programs via a brand-new free mobile app called STQRY, developed in Seattle, which makes it easier for visitors to track the various programs on offer from May 16-23.

“One reason the American Alliance of Museums chose Seattle for its 2014 annual meeting was so members could come see how Northwest museums are finding their innovation edge by harnessing the same kind of creativity and new thinking driving the local tech industry,” said Doug King, president and CEO of Seattle’s Museum of Flight in a press release. King added that the event also made a good opportunity for museums to reach out to the public to show their work.

Among the programs on show are the Henry Art Gallery’s transformation of its gift shop into a living lab for performances, interactive workshops, micro-residencies, and other education experiments, and the Museum of Glass’ program helping returned veterans learn glass blowing as a way to focus and relieve stress.

Most museums are also offering special presentations and lectures as spin-offs from the AAM conference, which brings in over 5,000 museum professionals from all 50 states and 50 countries.

To make it easier to track all the events, exhibits and special offers such as 2-for-1 entry, museums the STQRY app (pronounced ‘story’) will help visitors track events, exhibits and special offers such as 2-for-1 entry. Free and available in 60 languages for iPhones, Android, and Windows phones, STQRY was developed by Seattle-based Chris Smith several years ago. It allows place-based cultural organizations to tell detailed stories through text, photo, video and audio via scannable QR codes at certain locations, such as art installations at Auburn train station, the back-story of D.B. Cooper’s tie at the Washington State History Museum or bird calls at the zoo in Wellington, New Zealand. The app also offers interactive maps and social media sharing options.

“I grew up in Seattle, going to many of these museums as a kid,” said Chris Smith, founder and CEO of STQRY. “Now to have them using my company’s software to tell their stories...it’s just an honor.”

 

Museum Week Northwest runs statewide May 16-23; a detailed list of events and participants will go live soon at museumweeknw.org.

 

Rosemary Ponnekanti: 253-597-8568 rosemary.ponnekanti@thenewstribune.com

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