In Philadelphia, the Association for Public Art has developed a “museum without walls” program to interpret its public art, and it is one of the best “street” tours in the country. The self-guided tours are available in several multiple platforms: You can call phone numbers listed with each sculpture, use a free smart phone app, download the audio to an MP3 player, or scan a QR code (known as a QR or quick response code) on the free “Museum Without Walls” map at locations around the city.
The tour stops are very well-done, with interesting content provided by historians, curators, sometimes the artist or a living relative. For the linked video, for example, they enlist author Kirk Savage, who wrote Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in 19th Century America, historian Harold Holzer, and Millard F. Rogers, Jr., author of Randolph Rogers: American Sculptor in Rome. All knowledgeable, entertaining, and passionate about the subject. Visual content is simple — photographs of the work of art itself.
As with our pastcasts, the three-to-five minute length seems optimal. What Philadelphia does well is provide a place on their website where you can upload your own pictures and add your own thoughts about the sculptures. There is also a set of lesson plans for 4th and 5th grade students. This project was funded by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Heritage Philadelphia Program, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.