Local museums create text-message tours

    Text-messaging behind the wheel of a car is illegal in Philadelphia, but some area museums encourage texting in their galleries.

    Text-messaging behind the wheel of a car is illegal in Philadelphia, but some area museums encourage texting in their galleries. Visitors to the Arthur Ross Gallery and the Abington Arts Center can play text-message games while wandering the exhibits. Museums hope to snare visitors minds, 160 characters at a time.

    Listen:
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    It can either be a scavenger hunt, or as kind of Quizzo. You recieve a text that asks you something. You find the answer, and text your reply. The computerized texter then rewards you with another question.

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    Pretty simple, and also very flexible. The texting game can be custom-tailored to an art exhibit, a sculpture garden, or a science center. Heather Rutledge of the Abington Art Center has set it up for the 27-acre sculpture park.

    Rutledge: The museum educator in me has the opportunity to slip in facts about sculpture or about the artist. But it was a real challenge to boil down the basic concepts we wanted to pass along in 160 characters.

    It’s also inexpensive. The system costs the institution about $400 dollars for six months. But there is a cost to the user – up to 15 cents for every text, depending on the phone plan.

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