Happy Presidents Day! Can’t make a visit to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery to celebrate? Not to worry, there’s a new way to enjoy these historic works of art without leaving home.
The newly released America’s Presidents for iPad offers users a virtual tour of the National Portrait Gallery’s American Presidential Collection, enhanced for the iPad. While there are a number of activities within the app, the Gallery, is its heart and soul. The user may watch the evolution of the American Presidency through its portraits.
The formality of the first two hundred years of the office gives way to noticeably more relaxed representations of the two most recent US Presidents. While George HW Bush’s portrait resembles a photograph, Barack Obama’s actually is one. Perhaps President Obama’s photograph will be replaced with a seated portrait after the completion of his second term, but the app doesn’t give the reader any indication that this is the case.
After entering the gallery, the user may tap the discover button to learn more about each of the 44 men who have held this office. Here the user will discover portraits or photos of nearly every First Lady, along with quotes that exemplify the President. These range from serious to light hearted. Two favorites: “I’m so overexposed, I’m making Paris Hilton look like a recluse.” — Barack Obama and “Always be sincere, even if you don’t mean it.” — Harry Truman.
The app also includes a number of minigames to help reinforce what the user has learned in the gallery, a slide show of fascinating facts about the US Presidency, and the opportunity to vote for your favorite portrait.
Download America’s Presidents for iPad from the App Store for the introductory price of $4.99.
What I liked: As a fan of fine art, I enjoyed seeing the the Presidential Portraits in a group.
What I didn’t like: America’s Presidents is large, taking up 696 MB of iPad space, so make sure you have room on your device to download it before purchasing the app. While I loved the idea of including images of important documents and other ephemera associated with each President, it was often difficult to read them.
To buy or not to buy: Anyone who wants to learn more about the American Presidency and the tradition of portrait painting will enjoy America’s Presidents for iPad.
- App Name: America’s Presidents for iPad
- Version Reviewed: 1.0
- Category: Reference
- Developer: Smithsonian Institution
- Price: $4.99