“Cheap” and replicable – MCN 2017

Online collection databases. Audioguides. Digital gallery guides. These systems are expensive. In response, the Birmingham Museum of Art (BMA) created smartguide, a web based platform serving as an open access and interpretive system for remote and in-gallery visitors. The BMA created the smartguide to allow engagement with as little friction as possible, via familiar systems. The backend of smartguide is a plugin for WordPress that automates the creation of a browsable, searchable online collection and gallery guide custom post types. Smartguide can be implemented through Museum owned devices, visitor devices, or any display device connected to the internet such as in-gallery kiosks. In this session we will present the technical merits of the system and the replicability for small to mid-size institutions, including a case study implementing smartguide at the Abroms-Engel Institute for Visual Arts (AEIVA), a small museum within the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Presentation Resources

Presentation slidedeck

Index of Stops featured in Presentation


BMA Collection Database


We think smartguide can serve the museum community by lowering the technical investment required to implement mobile content in galleries. We invite you to collaborate with us.

  • Email us with questions you have about implementing smartguide at your institution
  • Add feature requests on gitub
  • Send us screenshots of your smartguide deployment
  • If smartguide doesn’t work for you, tell us why

BMA GitHub Repository

Smartguide Development Roadmap

BMA content guidelines

Contact Us

Sean Pathasema
Director of Photography and Visual Resources, smartguide Project Manager
Email Sean

James Williams
Creative Director, smartguide User Interface & User Experience
Email James