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New App Enhances the Academy Museum Experience

PHILADELPHIA (August 14, 2013)—Visitors to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University can experience the museum in a fun, new way—right on their smartphones. A free interactive app called ANS Explore! engages visitors on a quest to uncover hidden secrets in the exhibits and to earn virtual badges while making discoveries.

ANS ExploreThe app guides visitors on a quest to find “escaped” butterflies located throughout the museum. Players scan the butterfly-shaped QR codes to earn badges and unlock interesting information about the animals, habitats and other features of the exhibits. The app also offers butterfly illustrations to color, as well as a butterfly-catching game that you can play anywhere.

“This engaging new app gives our visitors a whole new way to experience our great museum,” said Academy President and CEO George W. Gephart, Jr.

ANS Explore! was designed by a team of students at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. According to developer Daniel Barboni, an undergraduate in the Digital Media program, the team designed the app to be updated and adjusted as the exhibits change. The current theme of the scavenger hunt is “capturing escaped butterflies,” which correlates with the Academy’s Butterflies! exhibit.

“The goal is to get kids and parents to explore more of the Academy and learn things they might not have known,” Barboni said. “I think it really helps children stay immersed in the Academy experience.”

The inspiration for creating the app came after the Westphal students, Barboni, Darielle Brown-Davis, Jordan Stewart and Kanv Narain, got an eye-opening look at the wonders of the Academy.

“After going on a behind-the-scenes tour at the Academy, we realized that there is a lot of fascinating information about each exhibit that you might not get to learn just by reading the signs and plaques,” Barboni said.

ANS Explore! is available for Android and iOS operating systems and can be downloaded at the AppStore or GooglePlay. For more information, visit

Located in the heart of Philadelphia’s Parkway Museums District, the Academy features four floors of interactive exhibits, including dinosaur skeletons, a tropical garden filled with live butterflies, live animals to touch, historic dioramas of global habitats, and more.