By way of introduction: audio guides and mobile devices arrive at the museum.

Beginning of the history of Audioguides in Museums.

The history of the introduction of audioguide systems in museums began more than 50 years ago. It has evolved from cassette systems to digital ram memory, MP2 systems and, even more, MP3 systems.

In this area, the Stedlijk Museum in Amsterdam was one of the first to use, in 1952, a hand guide for its exhibitions; Almost a decade later, at 1961, the Natural History Museum of the United States adopted the use of audio guides, while the Louvre did the same at 1970 (Kamal, Petrie and Power, 2011).

First steps of the Audioguides for 50 years ago.

During the first 35 years of using this type of elements, Proctor and Tellis (2003) identify two significant changes: the passage to the cassettes, in 1980, which reduced the size of the devices. In 1994, from analog to digital systems.

The latter allowed to have a longer duration of visits, previously constricted to 45 minutes maximum.

In the 1990s, visitors were able to choose their own routes, listen as much as they wanted. Choose the language of your choice, and special visits for specific audiences (Proctor and Tellis, 2003).

One of the pioneers in introducing multimedia devices was the Musical Experience Project in England, in 1995, while in the 2002 the Tate Gallery, in the same country, made available to its visitors the first portable device through a pilot project that culminated in the 2005 with a commercial plan (Tallon and Walker, 2008, p. 4).

Evolution of Audioguides in Museums in the last 50 years.

Since then technology has advanced by leaps and bounds The use of mobile devices such as iPads, Palms and cell phones with predetermined programs for guided tours is currently widespread. Selection of specific works to look for in the museum's exhibition, choice of various layers of information, among others, whose purpose is to improve the visitor's experience.

Audio guides today have been modified so that the public skips tracks, controls their visit more and gets more information, depending on their
pleasures.

The use of these devices raises some questions about how they affect the public's visit and how people learn, as well as about the interaction between them and the museum, which has sought to respond through various investigations.

The history of the introduction of audioguide systems in museums began more than 50 years ago.

Author: Monserrat Narváez Naranjo

Published in Studies on publics and museums Volume I. Publics and museums: What have we learned ?.

Text adapted for blog

Authorized by the author.

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