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Audio Tour

  • 1.  Audio Tour

    Posted 07-22-2016 10:57 AM

    We are looking to replace our old wand based audio tour system with a newer more technically advanced system.  We would like for users to be able to use their mobile devices.  Does anyone have any recommendations or experience that would help us navigate this?  So far, we have been able to find only one vendor.

  • 2.  RE: Audio Tour

    Posted 07-25-2016 09:32 AM

    I haven't personally worked with any audio tour vendors yet, but the AAM Museum Marketplace has a pretty extensive list to check out. There's a good range represented that should help track down a good fit, although it's also a lot to sort through. Good luck with the update!

    Audio Tours - Museum Marketplace

    Museummarketplace remove preview
    Audio Tours - Museum Marketplace
    The Museum Marketplace is the database dedicated to museum staff, boards and volunteers, helping them find the products & services they need.Blackbox-av Ltd,Hillmann & Carr Inc.,IdeeClic,The Magic Lantern,Acoustiguide, Inc.,Antenna International,Argentine Productions,Cortina Productions, Inc,Edwards Technologies, Inc. / ETI,Eriksen Translations Inc.,
    View this on Museummarketplace >
    Emily Kirk
    Concept Designer
    The Henry Ford
    Dearborn MI

  • 3.  RE: Audio Tour

    Posted 07-25-2016 10:45 AM

    I recently attended a presentation by

    There is a free and paid version for non-profits.

    It is a tour system that allows you to create an "adventure" - you can upload text, images, video. I am not sure if you can upload just an audio file - check with them.

    If you offer the "adventure" for free - there is no charge for hosting it. If you charge guests to view it, then they get a portion of the sale.

    It looks like a great way to be able to tours without the equipment expense and maintenance.

    Thomas Gull
    Director of Development
    Frank Lloyd Wright Trust
    Chicago IL

  • 4.  RE: Audio Tour

    Posted 07-25-2016 11:07 AM
    Edited by Andrew BeauChamp 07-25-2016 11:07 AM

    Cathy - I have been involved with replacing our audio systems and two different museum i had worked at. the companies that are listed in the market place are all great, it just depends on your needs. At one of the museum i was at we went with Acoustiguide since they closely matched our needs.  We had multiple locations, the visitors had to take them on boats and a host of other unique challenges and Acoustiguide was the only company willing and able to work with us.

    Then at another Museum we went the web/app route from IdeeClic (the company doing our Museums's renovation suggested IdeeClic since they have worked with them before but i believe Hillmann & Carr might offer the same service) the visitor could download the app to their phone and use their phone as the audio guide. Now if the audio tours is a source of income, this might not be the best choice for you. We originally charged $1 for the app but found some push back, so we applied for a grant to underwrite the cost of giving it to the visitor for free.  We did offer Itouch devices on site for those visitors who did not want to download the app or did not have a phone they could use.  We did charge a fee for the rental of the Itouch but most of the visitors down loaded the app.  An upside is that you do get emails and user profiles with the app which our development and education departments used to get members or send out up coming programs guides.  The upside is the app was easy to up date, it also had a map of the museum and a guide to the collection and programs. Most of the visitors that downloaded the app used it again when they visited and we found that less the 5% of the users removed it from their phones after use. 

    Andrew BeauChamp
    The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    East Straudsburg PA

  • 5.  RE: Audio Tour

    Posted 07-25-2016 11:30 AM

    If you want to save money, build a web site, most web hosts offer WordPress and you can find a ton of great responsive designs for free or pay $50-$70 and get one that might be a bit more tailored.  I would recommend keeping the main URL short don't use any special characters or numbers for example and is available.  Create your new audio and upload to your new web site.

    On the home page you can list the different tours and have label copy that shows the URL

    From our experience we tried QR codes (Which you can use) but most people don't have a QR reader app and if they do, it opens the page up in the app browser which may not be compatible with your web site.  We find that most will not download an app, when we talk to visitors they says they would but in the the end they don't.

    You can have an app build but this can be very expensive and would be a lot cheaper to build a web site and even if you need some fancy web development it would be cheaper then having an app built.

    For the visitor it is a lot quicker to open a browser and enter a URL then it would be to open the app store search for you app download it then look for the tour they want.  You can provide a link to the app but again they would open a browser and enter the URL for the App...(but at this point they can just enter the URL for your web tour).

    In your web tour you can provide images and video as well as audio, people want great content I would put the effort in to the content.

    Raymond Stivala
    Manager of Web/Multimedia Development
    The Newark Museum
    Newark NJ

  • 6.  RE: Audio Tour

    Posted 07-26-2016 08:52 AM

    Hi Cathy,

    At the Harn we have used a couple of different services that provide dial-in audio access (visitor makes a phone call to a special number and enters a stop number), web apps (a regular URL that takes you the visitor to a tour with buttons to tap for audio content) and/or apps (the kind you download from iTunes or Play store).  These are typically on an annual subscription service, are easy to manage,and easy to use. For the Harn the dial-in/web app package is ideal, but others may prefer a downloadable app.

    I encourage you to contact a few companies and have them walk you through what they offer. I've found most companies to be responsive and not too hard-sell.  Before you do that, it might be good to test drive some examples of their product. OnCell has a very handy page of client examples ( Others, such as ask you to contact them for a demo. 

    As a side note, I am curious if anyone has experience with accessibility of audio content on personal devices. Visually impaired visitors will definitely know how to use their phone to dial numbers and make keypad entries. I am not sure how difficult it is for them to navigate web-apps or apps.  We have chosen to make our audio accessible through both a web app and dial-in platform (easily done with OnCell, and I assume with other services). 


    Eric Segal PhD
    Director of Education & Curator of Academic Programs
    Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art - University of Florida
    Gainesville FL

  • 7.  RE: Audio Tour

    Posted 08-19-2016 03:13 PM

    Greetings all;

    We are at that challenging "in-between" phase, now offering multimedia digital tours (via a web app) on rentable mini iPads, also available to download on visitors' own device, AND we still offer our old audio tour, (outdated Antenna model).  Our issue is that many of our older visitors still want the old audio tours, and we have a depleted supply (many keep breaking, and can't be replaced).   Even younger patrons have returned the iPad in favor of "just listening, and not being distracted by visual screens".

    Anyone else experiencing this?  ALSO - if anyone has old Antenna devices available... we are desperate for any working models!

    Thanks again!

    Margit Hotchkiss
    Deputy Director of Audience and Business Development
    Norman Rockwell Museum
    Stockbridge MA

  • 8.  RE: Audio Tour

    Posted 07-14-2017 11:50 AM
    Have you looked at what the National Museum of American Illustration is doing? Like you, they have lots of Norman Rockwells and other illustrators on display.

    They allow visitors to borrow tablet tour guides (or download the tour on their own phone). The tour has great TripAdvisor reviews:

    "Magnificent collection!

    Everything about this art museum was a delight. The building is beautiful, the collection of illustration art - astounding. The informational personal headsets were great, I learned so much. As a longtime fan of Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell it was a wonderful experience to see originals of their work up close!"

    Snehal Shah
    Action Data Systems, LLC
    Barrington RI

  • 9.  RE: Audio Tour

    Posted 07-12-2017 12:21 PM
    Hi Cathy!

    We can deliver your existing content at no charge through UniGuidea mobile device app focussed on education and accessibility that provides its users with free access to hundreds of audio tours of museums, historical sites, gardens, parks and other venues. We are also currently developing up to one hour of completed content, per site.

    The best way to get a feel for what UniGuide is, is to download the app through your mobile device app store, and check out the interactive map. Most of the content is produced by individual institutions, so the production quality varies.
    For sites that do not already have recorded content, or would like their content edited, we work with them to create a tour based on existing interpretive materials, self-guided textual tours, docent-training materials, and other sources.

    Please let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to contact me directly. I hope we can work together to deliver your audio tour in an accessible way!

    Best regards,

    Lauren Bacchus

    UniGuide Audio Tour Content Coordinator


    Lauren Bacchus
    Freelance Museum Professional
    Asheville NC

  • 10.  RE: Audio Tour

    Posted 07-13-2017 10:09 PM
    We have replaced hundreds of old audio tour instruments with mobile tablets (small and big); along with downloadable mobile apps from Apple/Google app stores. Check out details at Mobile Tour Guide App Platform for Museums, Walking Tours, Driving Tours, Visitor Attractions-ActionShow App.

    We take total responsibility to transfer your current tour, add pictures, music, script etc. We manage all the hardware, app stores and cloud for you. We also have the option to add a number of e-commerce features such as buying tickets, donations, coupons, sponsorships, and gift store. Once fully implemented, our solution will have zero cost; in fact, it will generate new revenue for you.

    On top of all of these, you will get excellent five <g class="gr_ gr_1736 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling gr-progress" id="1736" data-gr-id="1736">start</g> TripAdvisor reviews such as ...

    Reviewed 2 weeks ago

    The mansions are so impressive. We bought the five house pass for $35. This was well worth the time and expense. The audio tours that are included with admission price are very well done and offer the option to listen for extra information if you have more time. You will get a lot of information listening to just the basic info, but the extra info is well done and offers a bit more "personal" info into the lifestyle of <g class="gr_ gr_1559 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar only-ins replaceWithoutSep" id="1559" data-gr-id="1559">opulence</g> of the Gilded Age. 
    We visited The Breakers, Rosecliff, Marble House, The Elms, and Green Animals Topiary Garden. 
    I would recommend seeing as many mansions as possible! I would allow an hour for each to get the basic tour, but you could spend more time if you want to dig deeper and listen to the extra information.

    Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

    We visited during a rainy day, but this activity is worth doing in any weather. You can tour the mansions at your own pace with the <g class="gr_ gr_1560 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling multiReplace" id="1560" data-gr-id="1560">self guided</g> tours. They give you a device(IPad, etc.) and headphones at the start of the tour and you can control it and listen as you walk through. Our teenagers enjoyed it. Very innovative way to see and understand the history and grandeur of these "cottages" from the gilded age. 
    We bought the 5 mansion <g class="gr_ gr_1543 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Punctuation only-del replaceWithoutSep" id="1543" data-gr-id="1543">pass,</g> but were only able to make it to three due to a late start and another activity we had planned. So we spent about 1hr in each. <g class="gr_ gr_1545 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Punctuation only-ins replaceWithoutSep" id="1545" data-gr-id="1545">Definitely</g> could have spent more time (maybe another hour) in each. From what I can tell, the tickets don't expire, so you can these over a course of days. 
    We toured the Breakers, the Marble House, and Rosecliff. The Breakers seems to be the biggest. Each <g class="gr_ gr_1556 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" id="1556" data-gr-id="1556">have</g> spectacular and unique entrances and amazing ocean views. Don't miss the opportunity to walk the grounds before or after the tour. The lawns are several football fields long and wide on some. The Cliff Walk, another activity (free), goes by at <g class="gr_ gr_1557 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" id="1557" data-gr-id="1557">the <g class="gr_ gr_1550 gr-alert gr_spell gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim ContextualSpelling" id="1550" data-gr-id="1550">oceans</g> edge</g>. 
    The preservation society managing these properties seems to do a wonderful job. Thanks for keeping these places <g class="gr_ gr_1541 gr-alert gr_gramm gr_inline_cards gr_run_anim Grammar multiReplace" id="1541" data-gr-id="1541">a open</g> to the public. Well done!

    Snehal Shah
    Action Data Systems, LLC
    Barrington RI

  • 11.  RE: Audio Tour

    Posted 07-16-2017 05:02 PM
    I'm always sorry to hear that museums are moving resources to apps. Why?
    1. Believe it or not, some people still have flip phones that can't access the internet
    2. Many people with smart phones have limited data plans, especially people on limited incomes.
    3. Some phones have limited memory space. My phone is like this - I can save photos to my SD card, but not apps. I was recently at the Field Museum and was unable to download their app because my phone's memory was full. 

    I hope museums will continue to make audio tours available through more traditional means.

  • 12.  RE: Audio Tour

    Posted 07-14-2017 08:57 AM
    Hi all!

    I realize the thread of this post started in July of 2016 but why not throw our hat in the ring here!  Also, thank you to Eric for the mention. Cuseum works with hundreds of incredible cultural institutions to help them engage visitors using powerful digital educational tools. One of those tools is a digital tour guide. 

    If anyone wants to chat with us, feel free to reach out to me directly 

    Here are some examples of our work: Examples

    Dan Sullivan
    Head of Partnerships
    Boston MA

  • 13.  RE: Audio Tour

    Posted 07-17-2017 09:15 AM
    I know this thread started a while back, but I want to take this opportunity to introduce our company LizenUp. LizenUp offers museums of all sizes to setup audio guides that are portable, and easy to setup. Our solution includes small buttons (which are called audio tags) that are affixed next to the artwork. Visitors can use their own smartphones (or some museums even rent smartphones to visitors who don't have them) to scan or tap the tag with our LizenUp universal app, these audio tags let visitors listen to stories behind the artwork. Visitors can choose their own path thru the museums stopping/listening only when they choose to. Museums get analytics on visitors behavior, likes, traffic and other data. If anyone is interested, we send you a free starter kit, takes only a few minutes to setup. Please contact us at

    Bhaskar Gandavabi, Founder & CEO, LizenUp, Inc.