Lonely Planet Writer

Pittsburgh's Andy Warhol Museum launches inclusive audio guide

More people will be able to learn about the works of one of Pittsburgh’s most famous former residents, as the Andy Warhol Museum has launched a new inclusive audio guide that focuses on hearing and touch.

Visitors take part in the Out Loud tactile experience.
Visitors take part in the Out Loud tactile experience. Image by Warhol Museum

The guide, called Out Loud, is designed to help users who are blind or have low vision experience the museum using location-based content, screen reader optimisation, and enlargeable text, according to the museum.

Andy Warhol Mao art.
Andy Warhol Mao art. Image by Warhol Museum

It uses descriptions of artworks and stories about Warhol’s life and art from scholars, curators, museum staff, and Warhol’s friends and family members. The app also learns a user’s preferences to improve the experience and employs beacon technology that will launch the audio guide when a visitor nears an associated artwork.

Visitors take part in the Out Loud tactile experience.
Visitors take part in the Out Loud tactile experience. Image by Warhol Museum

The free app was developed in collaboration with the Innovation Studio at Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and devices with Out Loud are available to borrow on site, as well as headphones, neck loops, and audio splitters.

Images around the fourth floor.
Images around the fourth floor. Image by Warhol Museum

“We’re excited to launch this app that is the direct result of working with community members with visual impairments,” said Desi Gonzalez, The Warhol’s manager of digital engagement, in a statement. “Before we put a single design on paper or wrote a line of code, we talked to community partners who are blind or have low vision about what makes a good museum experience—and a good digital experience”. But the new efforts extend further than just hearing about the art: the museum has also developed tactile reproductions of a selection of Warhol artworks. The works reimagine the contours and colours of an artwork as different relief layers and allow visitors to experience the art through their sense of touch.