America’s Presidents Review
Explore the history of the Presidency from George Washington to Obama with America’s Presidents for iPad
Do you know which President owned a pet raccoon? Which one posed for his portrait in a cape? And who on earth James K Polk was ? The answers to all these questions and more can be found in America’s Presidents. As the first ever virtual tour of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the app offers an interactive journey through some of the most iconic figures in American history.
Optimised for Retina display, you can view the brushstrokes of all 43 portraits up close with pinch-zooming. This in itself will offer art buffs hours of joy, but the app includes so much more. Each portrait includes additional artefacts, such as newspaper clippings, campaign badges, and photos of the First Ladies. As an added multimedia layer, there are also videos and audio. You can also test your knowledge in The Games Room, including matching quotes with the correct Commander-in-Chief.
With the option to view the portraits on a timeline, individually with a description, as well as tapping on an image for a biography of the painter, the user is forced to navigate more windows than they might need to. However, while it is somewhat cumbersome, this interface issue is no worse than having to crisscross the halls of an actual museum, and the rich level of detail the app offers more than compensates for it. The app should also be commended for avoiding partisan politics, and instead offering a balanced view of each president’s triumphs and failings.
Not just for historians and art buffs, this offers a content-rich experience for everyone.
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