The Buffalo Bill Center of the West’s iScout web-based app has received recent updates—changing the way visitors plan their visits, explore the Center, and enjoy museum content.
Exploring the Center of the West’s museums and research library has never been easier. As they say in pop culture, “We’ve got an app for that!” i-Scout is a web-based app (there is no need to download anything to use it) launched in 2015 as a way to browse the Center’s collections from mobile devices while visiting the Center, or even from a desktop at home. Not only could a visitor view artifacts from the Center’s many collections through iScout, they could also view any articles, videos, or additional research information available about the artifacts of their choice.
“Over the past seven years, traffic to our website has more than doubled,” says IT Technician and iScout developer Seth Johnson. “In many ways, digital space has transcended physical space in terms of capacity and ability to reach wide audiences.”
Features of iScout now include viewing maps of the gallery that correspond to the artifacts on display, an event calendar of the day’s tours and special programs and when and where to find them, and badges earned for browsing in the collections and completing scavenger hunts. Visitors are invited to dive deep into the background of the Center’s artifacts with blog, article, and video content.
In 2018, Johnson enhanced iScout to include more layers of interactivity, including the integration of more articles, collection pieces, and videos from the Center’s YouTube platform with the help of Nancy McClure in Electronic Communications.
Johnson says that during this process, he is always asking the question, “What is useful for guests and staff?”
He explains, “This is about building a connection between the physical and digital space that is meaningful and lasting. Meaningful to actual museum visitors, potential museum visitors, and ‘virtual’ visitors who may never come to Cody. With McClure’s help, we’ve been able to share the amazing exhibits, ideas, and stories that so many other people at the Center have worked hard on over the years. The large volume of content available now is just a small taste of what we have in store for the future. As with everything at the Center, it’s a piece of the big picture–part of the culmination of work people have been doing since the very beginnings of the Center in 1917.”
Upcoming updates to the one-of-a-kind iScout app will include 360-degree gallery panoramas, profile customization, and trip planning as well as improvements to existing iScout functions. Whether you are using a smart phone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop, you can explore iScout here.
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For more information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s pages on Facebook and Twitter.