Blog

The art of apps: Archives wants you to hold our 150-year-old paintings

By: Anna Namuren, Category: Science, Date: 04 Mar 2014

‘The Art of Science: butterfly and moth paintings by the Scott sisters' is a free, award-winning app available for iOS and Android phones.

The Art of Science app #2

 © Australian Museum

Late last year we announced our participation in the apps4nsw initiative, a competition which was launched by the Department of Finance and Services to bring data and creativity together by partnering government agencies with developers.

Our challenge to the winners, Beaconmaker, was to bring fresh appeal to the Scott sisters’ collection of illustrations and social histories from colonial Sydney and link the specimens to current scientific data on Australian butterflies and moths from the Atlas of Living Australia.

We're proud to say that our app has won two prestigious awards this year, 2014 - a High Commendation in the 'Multimedia category', MAPDA (Museums Australia Multimedia and Publication Design Awards) and 'Best publication that uses, features or interprets Australian archives, written by or on behalf of a corporate body', the Mander Jones Award (Australian Society of Archivists).

Much of the content for 'The Art of Science' was repurposed from the Scott sisters exhibition which was held at the Australian Museum in 2011 and in galleries across regional NSW, along with scientific research provided by our Entomology and Anthropology units.

The tight deadline meant that a market-ready app had to be produced in less than two months. After a lot of “love, sweat and, well, more love” – the words of our developers – we’ve launched an app where you can:

  • View 100 beautiful paintings and early drawings
  • Learn about 195 species of butterflies and moths
  • Explore the lives of the Scott sisters through biographies and the places that inspired them
  • Watch videos featuring our scientists, conservators and archivists

We hope you’ll enjoy the exquisite artwork and explore the science.

See the app video promo

Vanessa Finney talks about the scientific illustrations of the Scott sisters

Free download from the App and Play stores