Société des musées du Québec

Experience digital apps at the museum 

Caroline Émond, Communication Officer, SMQ

The « Cachalinot » (sperm whale) at  the  Musée de la mer des Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Photo: Black Artick / 44 Screens

Museums are cool! If you still need to be convinced, think about this: museums foster creativity, with exhibitions that feature playful interactive elements. Whether you’re an art-lover, an explorer or just curious by nature, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the terrific apps developed by the museums.

Audio guides 2.0: Web apps and multi-platform exhibitions

Web apps and multi-platform exhibitions inspired by traditional audio guides enhance your visit with multimedia content: soundtracks, photos and narrations. Here are some ideas to get you started.

A few suggestions:

  • Discover the architectural heritage of Val-d’Or with archival photos, testimonials, videos and interactive games for different audiences. The Centre d’exposition de Val-d’Or designed the Val-d’Or app – you can even submit your own documents and archival photos.  Download the Val-d’Or app.
  • Roam Battlefields Park around the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec and discover the 21 stations on the TD Public Art Walk
    The MNBAQ Media Guide is available on tablets at the museum ticket office and online.
  • Explore the built heritage of the Université de Montréal and its public art with Art pour tous (available only in French), produced by the Centre d’exposition de l’Université de Montréal. This website presents content you can access online and download on your mobile device to enjoy as you go around. Visit Art pour tous  Website.
    Michel de Broin, Tortoise (Tunnel)
    Michel de Broin, Tortoise (Tunnel), 2012. Musée national des beaux‑arts du Québec collection, artist donation (2013.386.01)
     Photo : Idra Labrie, MNBAQ

Since these applications are Web-based, you can use them on your mobile device or your personal computer. Some multi-platform exhibitions also include this type of content, which you can access online or download to your own mobile device.

Fun activities for young and old

Play smart! Download the app and take off on an adventure. Pretend to be a habitant in New France, or follow in a monster’s footsteps in the world of contemporary art. You don’t need to be an expert on art or history – the game will guide you step by step, with many amazing  discoveries along the way.

A few suggestions:

Musée de la Gaspésie
Amuse personnage app at Musée de la Gaspésie
CC BY-NC-ND : Musée de la Gaspésie
  • From the Musée d’art de Joliette
    Learn all about contemporary art with your family in Gouache et l'odyssée monstrueuse or Mission pirate!, two walks you can take through the permanent exhibition. Download the MAJ app.
  • From the Musée de la Gaspésie
    Play along with Amuse personnage! Discover characters from the history of the Gaspésie. Advance through 12 levels by linking objects from the permanent exhibition with various characters, from Jacques Cartier to Mary Travers. The app is structured for play at the museum, at home or on the road.
    Download the Amuse personnage app (available only in French).  
  • From the Musée de la Civilisation
    Create your avatar, dress up in period costume and discover a long-lost episode in the colonization of New France. The Journey into the Colony app takes you back to the early days of the colony of New France (1541-1543), guiding you to find the information and artefacts you need to advance in the game. Download Journey into the Colony for your Apple device

Most of these apps can be used inside and outside the museum, so they’re great when you’re planning a visit, or reminiscing afterwards about activities you enjoyed.


Skeletons and specimens come back to life. The earth opens under your feet, revealing objects that have been buried for centuries. Military troops appear before your very eyes. Let augmented reality surprise you at every turn!

Val-d'Or moderne app
Ville de Val-d'Or

A few suggestions:

  • From the Musée de la mer
    Admire the sperm whale skeleton as it comes to life on your tablet. The app uses augmented reality to present the « Cachalinot » in flesh and bones. See the colour of the whale’s skin and the arrangement of its internal organs. Tablets are available for visitors, or you can download the Cachalinot of the sea Museum app on your Android device.
  • From the Musée de la nature et des sciences de Sherbrooke
    Augmented reality brings specimens from the Alteranima show to life. Tablets are provided for visitors (included in the admission price).  
  • From the McCord Museum
    Stroll around downtown Montreal and compare the city you see before your eyes with old-time Montreal.  Stand where you see the markers on the street and watch vintage photos from the McCord Museum collection pop up on top of today’s urban landscape.
    Download the MTL urban museum app.
  • From the Abenaki Museum
    Pretend you’re an archaeologist and discover objects buried on Odanak land with the A Nation’s memory app. Historic capsules pop up on the tablet screen.

These are just a few examples of the way museums and institutions create unforgettable experiences, both inside and outside the museum. And that’s only the start!  Visit the Digital experiences section of TheMuseums of Quebec website for more exciting ideas. It’s a whole different way of experiencing the museum!