'Pocket Museum' PDAs Explore Charles Rennie Mackintosh

By Graham Spicer | 12 October 2005
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Shows a photo of a handheld computer with the words Charles Rennie Mackintosh written on its screen and a sepia photo of the man

Visitors can hire PDA machines at the Charles Rennie Mackintosh sites and access a 'Pocket Museum' of images, sound, text and sound. Photo © Lackie & Co.

The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society has launched a hi-tech ‘Pocket Museum’ that sends information about the influential Scottish architect’s works to visitors at the organisation’s venues.

Visitors can hire personal digital assistants (PDAs) at the society’s six sites in and around Glasgow through which they are able to access sound, video, text and images. The information can be instantly changed by the venues so that it is always up to date.

If a guided tour is available or an event is about to start in the attraction, users will be instantly notified, and they can choose what content they wish to view. Wireless Internet access points, installed by Scottish company Instalec, mean there is complete coverage throughout the buildings.

Shows a photo of the inside of a building with a curved dark wood banister and cream coloured floor designed by architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Mackintosh's House For An Art Lover in Dumbreck Road, Glasgow. Photo courtesy Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society

“Charles Rennie Mackintosh was regarded as extremely innovative for his time,” said Zach Watt, director at project partner Parallel56.

“I am sure if he was alive today he would be delighted with the way we are making his work increasingly accessible.”

The innovative Pocket Museum scheme is seen by the society as an important step towards gaining World Heritage Status for its attractions by 2010. They currently welcome more than one million visitors a year.

The project was developed by Lackie & Co, Spring Corporation, Parallel56, Hamill Associates and Instalec and is supported by Scottish Enterprise.

Shows a photo of the inside of a church designed by architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It has grey and white walls and an large arched sections of windows on the end wall

Glasgow's Mackintosh Church. Photo courtesy Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society

“The wireless infrastructure means that the next stage will see visitors able to send e-mails home and communicate with other visitors in the museum,” explained Kate Lackie, director at Lackie & Co.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1865-1928) was born in Townhead, Glasgow, and his distinctive Art Nouveau inspired architecture helped to define the hugely influential ‘Glasgow Style’. The Glasgow School of Art is considered his masterpiece.

Attractions running the new Pocket Museum are The Mackintosh Church, The Mackinstosh House, Scotland Street School, The Hill House, The Lighthouse and The House for an Art Lover.

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