Hunterian Museum launches new iPhone app

Published: 8 December 2009

A new iPhone app, developed by the University of Glasgow, aims to give the public access to the treasures of the Hunterian Museum during its partial closure.

A new iPhone app, developed by the University of Glasgow, aims to give the public access to the treasures of the Hunterian Museum during its partial closure.

The new service will allow users to browse the Hunterian's collections from anywhere in the world on an iPhone. Users can explore star objects from the Hunterian's collections including:

• Sculptured Roman Head of Fortuna
• Cast of the left hand of Fryderyk Chopin
• Lord Kelvin – Revolutionary Scientist
• Dr. William Hunter, University of Glasgow
• ‘A Lady Taking Tea’ by Jean-Simeon Chardin
• Charles Rennie Mackintosh chair from ‘The Rose Boudoir’
• American Gold Double Eagle 1924
• Maori Knife
• Lady Shepenhor, Thebes, Egypt 600 BC
• Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus) and its nest
• Proustite  an 18th century mineral specimen
• ‘La Tulipe’ by James McNeill Whistler

The app also contains links to further online resources, updates on permanent displays and notice of the popular Hunterian lunchtime talks. Additionally the app will provide links to related Wikipedia entries, Facebook pages, Flickr pages and tweets on Twitter.

Digital Projects Officer, Ger Malcolm, and Electronics and Software Engineering student, Suhayb Amir Mahmood developed the software as part of a ten week summer project.

Ger Malcolm explained: "With the museum's partial closure until April 2011 for roof renovation, I thought it might help keep visitors engaged and in touch, reaching out internationally using new digital media. It was a challenging and cutting-edge joint project, both creatively and technically engaging.

“This little app is, in effect, making our museum mobile. It lets us take the fantastic collections of Dr William Hunter out of his cabinet of curiosities to be viewed and enjoyed by an international audience. Although you don’t have to travel to Glasgow to see what we have, I hope these fascinating objects act as a taster to attract visitors to come to Glasgow and experience the real thing.

“What this type of application also allows us to do is enhance the experience and let users access objects that aren’t actually on show. With so many objects in our collections, it’s impossible to have everything on display at once.  In a virtual world this becomes possible.”

Suhayb added: "It's thrilling to see it in the iTunes store, our very first app: imagined, developed, tested and submitted in 10 short weeks. We have already scheduled an update, with extras, all of it free. What a fantastic project, and a great opportunity."

The new app has proven successful with hundreds of downloads from itunes and positive reviews already.

Despite the closure of the Main Hall, the museum's entrance gallery and adjoining Hunter and Euing rooms will remain open to the public until the Main Hall reopens in April 2011.

You can find the Hunterian app in the iTunes store at: or by searching for ‘Hunterian’ in the iTunes  store.

Further information:
Martin Shannon, Senior Media Relations Officer
University of Glasgow Tel: 0141 330 8593


Description from iTunes store:

The Hunterian opened its doors in 1807, making it Scotland’s oldest public museum and giving it a unique place within Scotland’s cultural heritage. The Hunterian is the legacy of Dr William Hunter, a pioneering obstetrician and teacher with a passion for collecting. Born locally, and a student at the University of Glasgow, Hunter found fame and fortune in London as physician to Queen Charlotte and as a teacher of anatomy. He lavished his wealth on building up the vast private collection which he bequeathed to the University in 1783, along with money to create a suitable museum.

The Hunterian collections are world class consisting of the Hunterian museum, Anatomy museum, Zoology museum, Art Gallery and The Mackintosh House. They are extensive and wide ranging with just over a million objects. The Hunterian is rated as one of the top five museums in Scotland because of the scale, range and significance of our collections. The following is a list of the individual collections found at the Hunterian:

• Archaeology and World Cultures
• Art
• Coins and Medals
• Medicine and Anatomy
• Rocks and Minerals
• Dinosaurs and Fossils
• Scientific Instruments
• University
• Zoology

In the 'What's On' section you can get online access to:

• Permanent displays
• exhibitions
• events
• lunchtime talks
• collections
• and coming soon.

The application also provides links to:

• an online google map showing locations of hunterian
• the Hunterian website
• our opening hours
• a wikipedia entry
• the hunterian facebook pages
• our Flickr pages
• and of course our tweets on Twitter.

This application invites you to explore 12 star objects from the extensive and wide ranging collections at the Hunterian. It is entirely free, as is entry to the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery itself. The application contains many links to further materials online, updates on permanent displays, exhibitions and lunchtime talks.

First published: 8 December 2009