Press Release - Museums can now go digital with free access to Gesso’s web app builder
April 15, 2020
New York, NY: Gesso, the Brooklyn-based tech company known for its audio-first city guides, announces the launch of an easy to use web app that allows museums of all shapes and sizes to bring their exhibitions online.
As museums of all sizes shut down due to Covid-19, many large institutions have engaged their audiences with virtual tours and online content. This typically involves big budgets and digital teams. Now Gesso equalizes the playing field by opening its technology to smaller institutions, and providing them with a platform where they can easily share content. It also introduces them to connect to audiences as app users discover places they weren’t previously familiar with.
“There is a real need for affordable and user-friendly audio guide software,” said Henna Wang, one of Gesso’s founders. “Even before the outbreak of COVID-19, only the best resourced museums with access to large pools of funding could afford to create digital engagement solutions. Museums are the keepers of inspiring stories, and it was frustrating me that institutions with smaller operating budgets did not have an easy and affordable way to engage visitors on and off site.”
Since September 2019, Wang and her team have been members of NEW INC’s Museum Technology track, underwritten by the Knight Foundation. They were tasked with prototyping innovative technology solutions for the museum sector. In line with NEW INC’s values, Gesso is committed to creating cultural value and social impact.
“We realized that most digital engagement is cost-prohibitive because there isn’t an off-the-shelf solution and most offerings require museums to hire expensive production companies to make the content. However, with smartphones’ ability to record great audio, and most museum teams already have charismatic experts on staff, the essential tools exist for museums to easily make and upload their own content at no cost. We focused on providing a simple solution that could be used by all museums, both on and off site.”
As museums close indefinitely in response to COVID-19, Gesso's web app is proving to be more relevant than ever. The Gesso software allows museums to offer online exhibitions to support their existing fan base and to expand their virtual visitorship during these hard times.
Museums that sign up get access to their own unique URL.
Gesso has been piloting with the New Museum since September 2019, and built and evolved the platform to their needs.
New Museum's Deputy Director Karen Wong expresses, "Gesso's UX is simple and seamless. You want to be an audio guide? Check. A podcast? Check. Short clips, longer chats paired with visuals? Check. It allows each museum the flexibility to build their online exhibition based on their resources. The Gesso team is agile, adept, and we've loved being their beta partner."
“We’ve been overwhelmed at how much interest there is in what we’ve built. We plan to continue to improve the platform in collaboration with our museum partners so that we can continue to provide value during these difficult times,” said Wang.
Museums that are interested in learning more can visit their site at https://www.gesso.app/museums
Contact: Michael Reynolds
Gesso makes audio-first city guides that present the world’s hidden gems through exclusive original content, a curated selection of the best podcasts and official audio guides through the most innovative cultural institutions.