On Saturday 10 June, The Bowes Museum celebrates its 125th Anniversary. Named after founders, John & Joséphine Bowes, this beautiful French château-style building opened to the public in 1892.
Home to the most important collection of European fine and decorative arts in the North of England, it is one of Britain’s most fascinating museum experiences. Paintings by El Greco, Van Dyck, Canaletto, Gainsborough, Goya and other masterpieces can be found in the impressive picture galleries. You will also find iconic objects like the Silver Swan musical automaton, an award winning fashion and textiles gallery, an important collection of ceramics and a wide range of beautiful historic furniture.
To mark this landmark anniversary, The Bowes Museum becomes the first UK museum outside London to make the art collection accessible to audiences via image recognition, in partnership with Smartify.
Art enthusiasts who visit the museum can simply hold up their smartphone camera to an artwork, instantly indentify it, and then access engaging text and audio commentary about artwork. Visitors will also be able to save their favourites into a personal art collection to take away with them.
Visitors to the 125th anniversary celebrations will be able to use the Smartify app in the central three galleries on the first floor of the Museum, and in the Music Room on the second floor before it is rolled out to include the Picture Galleries and the rest of the Museum collections throughout the year. Staff will be on hand to guide visitors through the Smartify experience on 10 June.
The Smartify app can be downloaded for free on IOS and Android from the App Store or via Google play.
The Bowes Museum joins a growing community of museums and art galleries globally who are joining the Smartify platform to offer a personalized experience to audiences across museums. Venues such as The Rijkmuseum, The Wallace Collection and The Met are all live on Smartify and offer visitors an opportunity to follow their own preference and to collect artworks across venues.
Thanos Kokkiniotis, Cofounder of SMARTIFY said: “It is a great pleasure to join with The Bowes Museum to bring Smartify outside London museums for the first time. As a social enterprise, our ambition is to support museums of all sizes and locations in offering audiences the latest digital technologies.’
Jane Whittaker, Head of Collections at The Bowes Museum, said: “We’re delighted to be the first museum outside London to offer the SMARTIFY app. With its ability to provide a multi-layered look at our collections on site, and to revisit favourites at leisure we are confident that it can only add to visitors’ enjoyment and enhance their museum experience.”
Smartify is a free app which helps people make meaningful connections with art. Smartify instantly identifies artworks by scanning them on your smartphone, using image recognition technology.
Smartify enables art enthusiasts to access engaging text and audiovisual commentary on artworks from partner exhibitions and collections. Smartify allows people to save their favourite artworks to their profile to create a digital personal collection and share it with our community. Smartify supports partner arts organisations to engage with audiences and reach new revenue streams.
Smartify is a social enterprise supported by the British Government’s agency InnovateUK.
How it works:
Hold up your phone’s camera to an artwork. After scanning the artwork you are presented with commentary (text, audio etc). You can then save favourites in a personal collection.