Free Audio Tours of World-Class Museums

The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery offers a free audio tour of its presidential portraits. (NPG / Smartify)

Explore World-Class Museums From Home With Smartify’s Free Audio Tours

by Theresa Machemer/

Hundreds of cultural institutions around the world—including the Smithsonian Institution’s 19 museums, galleries, gardens and National Zoo—have closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But thanks to a growing array of digital offerings, museum lovers have plenty of options for experiencing world-class institutions from home. (See Smithsonian magazine’s roundups of museums you can remotely visitcollections available for perusal online and ways to virtually explore the Smithsonian for additional inspiration.)

Now through the end of 2020, reports Mark Brown for the Guardian, the app—home to a database of some two million artworks from more than 120 venues—has made all of its audio tours available free of charge. Selected exhibits that were unable to open due to museum and gallery closures (including the Watts Gallery Artists’ Village’s John Ruskin retrospective) will launch on the app instead.

Launched in 2017 with a database of 30 museums, according to Smithsonian’s Ben Panko, Smartify models itself on Shazam, a mobile app that identifies songs based on snippets of audio….read more:

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