Culture and Arts Apps

By Becca Caddy

When it comes to apps, I’m a little sick of documenting my life, tracking my movements or playing on mind-numbing games. Maybe it’s time I inject a little culture into my application experience…

There are some apps I hand-on-heart believe I’d be lost without, mainly Spotify and Teux Deux. However, I’ve come to realise that many are simply there to fill time when I’m bored or waiting for something. But who’s to say I need to throw away every spare second to celebrity gossip, silly games or even more to-do lists? 

Obviously nothing compares to the feeling of drifting around an ancient, dusty museum or pondering over installations at a prestigious gallery. However, until we can spend entire days flitting around the world’s top cultural and artsy destinations, these apps will have to do…

I love art, admiring it certainly not creating it, so I was surprised to see so many apps available from top art galleries that I’d never even considered searching for. The National Gallery launched its Love Art mobile app over a year ago, think of it as your own private tour within your handset, with good quality audio and visual commentary of some of the most famous pieces. Another of my current favourites has to be The Louvre Museum app, not only can you find a great deal of information about your favourite works of art, there’s also stunning photography of The Louvre itself. As good as it gets without buying a plane ticket to Paris.

national gallery app

Earlier this month The British Library launched its first mobile application, Treasures, which lets users explore some of the library’s rare printed materials. It’s certainly not everybody’s cup of tea and to be honest I didn’t think it would really appeal to me at first. However, having studied English Literature at uni, I was excited to see the original documents of texts I’d spent weeks writing about as a student, mainly Lewis Carroll’s work and Beowulf.

alice's adventures app

If you’re sick of messing around with your phone and actually want to go out and do something, then try Bachtrack, this amazing little app allows you to search globally by location, performer, composer and orchestra for classical concerts, ballets and operas all over the world. If the theatre is more your cup of tea and you’re lucky enough to live in London, try downloading iTheatre, which keeps you up to date with special offers and discounts for all the plays and shows from the West End.

Lastly, The Times describes the Nearest Wiki app experience as, “like having Stephen Fry in your back pocket.” No, that doesn’t mean someone’s going to be correcting your grammar all the time. Instead the app uses augmented reality and fancy GPS technology, so when you point it in a certain direction it’ll pull up a list of Wikipeda entries, ideal for finding out the history of a building or area.

Becca Caddy is a BitchBuzz Tech columnist and freelance writer for Reputation Online, New Media Age’s spin-off publication. You can follow her on Twitter @beccacaddy.

Fri, 14 Jan 2011 10:00 (GMT+00)
2 Responses


I agree it's great now to be able to enrich those found moments in the day with a bit of culture and I'm glad to see more museums, cultural institutions, and artists creating apps. However, Apple's App Store is still difficult to sort through and find the apps officially associated with museums and cultural institutions. So I've created this list to make finding these apps easier:


Charles Outhier
Sun, 16-Jan-2011 14:55 GMT

Hi Charles,

That's a great tool, thanks for sharing it!


Becca Caddy
Mon, 17-Jan-2011 12:17 GMT

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