Sunday, March 18 , 2018, 3:02 am | Fair 47º


Need a Museum Guide? There’s an App for That!

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History launches for the iPhone and iPod

Have you ever wanted to check out a museum exhibit before arriving there?

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has published, a free lifestyle and education application for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch that is the museum world’s pioneering entry into the iPhone app space.

“I am proud to say now ‘there’s an app for that’ and we are just getting started,” museum Executive Director Karl Hutterer said. “The app initially highlights Butterflies Alive!, one of our exciting summer exhibits. We hope to develop additional app guides for the museum and Sea Center’s exhibitions.”

Butterflies Alive! is on exhibit through Sept. 21. With, people anywhere in the world to experience the exhibit by providing a photo gallery of close-up photos that app users can zoom into and learn the names of various species. For those in the museum’s Butterfly Pavilion, the app becomes a digital identification guide. Also, the app features a brief natural history of butterflies and an audio tour visitors can listen to using free Wi-Fi provided by the museum.

“Developing an app for one of Santa Barbara’s most beloved institutions is truly an honor,” said Michael Williams, CEO and founder of iTMP Technology, one of the local companies helping develop for the museum.

“I grew up ‘pushing the rattlesnake button’ so I am very excited to give back with a donation to the museum and the community,” added Jeremy Anticouni, co-founder and chief technology officer of Make It Work, the other company partnering with the museum to publish the app.

For more than 70 years, “pushing the rattlesnake button” has been and continues to be a popular phrase describing the visitors’ first memorable experience to the museum. On display in the museum’s courtyard is a Southern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri), and kids and adults alike remember pushing the button that makes the snake’s tail rattle. Rumor has it that, version 3.1 (which is coming soon) may have a very special new button.

“We are excited to be the first museum to release an app for the iPhone,” Hutterer said. “Our mission is to inspire a thirst for discovery and a passion for the natural world. We, like most museums, are known for achieving this through exhibitions, ongoing scientific research and collections management, and public educational programs. Even so, communicating the wonders of science and nature can be challenging in this over-communicated world. So when the opportunity arose to leverage the iPhone as a communication vehicle … we didn’t hesitate to accept the offer.”

The app is free and available at the Apple iTunes App Store.

— Easter Moorman is the marketing and public relations manager for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

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