The Hearst Castle’s Exclusive Mobile App is Now Available

The beautiful Hearst Castle.

Hearst Castle's exclusive new mobile application is now available as a free download on Google Play and iTunes. Castle Museum Director Hoyt Fields calls it "the best museum app in the world." Its beautiful images and in-depth text are enhanced with audio narration, architectural drawings, historic photographs, film clips, and music excerpts. It showcases the Castle in an entirely new way.

The app is the brainchild of Guidekick—a tech company dedicated to bringing the newest technologies to museum applications. Its founders Mark Paddon, Joshua Holland, Garrett Lauringson and Aaron Rivera are all twenty-something alumni from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. When they recently decided to redesign and re-engineer the concept of an app for museums and other cultural attractions, they realized the best site for their flagship launch; Hearst Castle was right in their backyard.

Mark Paddon, CEO of the company, said, “We wanted to create an app that would never be obsolete. Our expanding content and frequent updates ensure there will always be something new to discover. The app is programmed to deliver a personalized experience. The more time you spend on it, the more it learns about your preferences. It directs you to the content you’ll be most interested to see.”

Joshua Holland, Guidekick’s graphic designer, explained: “The app has two modes. In Library mode, it can be used from anywhere in the world. In Explorer mode, it’s GPS-activated for onsite use. Visitors can now wander around the Castle’s gardens after their tour. The app will alert them when they come to various points of interest along the way.”

The app is written and narrated by Hearst Castle’s historian Victoria Kastner. Most of its stunning photography is provided by the Castle’s photographer, Victoria Garagliano.  Kastner explained, “I wanted to create new content that does not duplicate the tours, which remain a wonderful experience in themselves. This material has never been available in any form. I’ve included stories about art objects, construction history, the Hearst family, their guests, and the hilltop staff.  We’ve added hundreds of new photographs and historic shots, plus fabulous architectural drawings by Julia Morgan. I’ve written 30,000 words already, with more to come.”

Apple named it one of their top travel apps, and was featured on the App Store. The Hearst Castle app is available alongside Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor, and National Geographic in the new Travel Guides collection on iTunes.