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The New York Botanical Garden Launches Groundbreakers App, Providing Mobile Access to Garden Programming and Content

Mobile Media Created in Partnership with Bloomberg Includes Augmented Reality

Among Other Interactive Multimedia Features

The New York Botanical Garden has launched a new Groundbreakers mobile application, available for free download to iOS-enabled smart phones and tablets on Apple’s iTunes. The Groundbreakers app is the latest addition to a mobile media program, sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which aims to develop apps that provide access to cultural and science programming and educational content in a highly customized mobile experience. More information is available on the Botanical Garden’s Web site at

The first phase of the mobile media initiative at the Garden was launched in August 2013 to coincide with last year’s Wild Medicine exhibition, offering information about the permanent collection of medicinal plants on view in the Garden’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. The new app complements the Garden’s new exhibition, Groundbreakers: Great American Gardens and The Women Who Designed Them, an exploration of the important contributions of American women who emerged as influential professionals in the fields of landscape architecture and design and garden photography in the early 20th century. The highlighted feature is the augmented reality technology, which overlays historic images and archival materials including landscape plans, quotes, and images of plants that might be found in these gardens to an image the visitor views through a mobile device’s camera. When viewed on-site at the Garden, this feature effectively projects this material into real-time views of the exhibition and collections. The app not only enriches the on-site visitor experience, it also provides virtual access through iPhones to some of the Botanical Garden’s extensive collections to vast audiences around the world who might never be able to visit the Garden in person.

The New York Botanical Garden is one of five cultural institutions receiving part of $15 million in a program sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies to support mobile technology intended to increase access to the arts and enhance visitor experiences. Through interactive, multimedia technology, users can explore the Garden further at home and wherever else they might be outside the 250-acre Historic Landmark grounds, while also enriching on-site visits. The Groundbreakers app enables iPhone users to view virtual landscapes in the palms of their hands, providing more dynamic information to visitors at the Botanical Garden as they view the real displays before them.

“It’s easy to appreciate the beauty of The New York Botanical Garden, and there’s so much more to learn when you dig beneath the surface. The Groundbreakers app puts the expertise of the most knowledgeable  tour guide at every visitors’ fingertips, which makes going to the Garden an even more rewarding experience,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, Philanthropist and Mayor of New York from 2002–2013.

“The Groundbreakers app allows visitors to have a concierge in their hand as they tour the exhibition,” says Gregory Long, Chief Executive Officer and the William C. Steere Sr. President of The New York Botanical Garden. “Through our partnership with Bloomberg, we are bringing this innovative technology to our visitors, allowing them to learn more about the history of these fascinating women, who were practically inventing the fields of garden design and garden photography. This successful partnership has had a dramatic and lasting effect on the Botanical Garden’s ability to make our vast living collections and exhibitions accessible to diverse audiences.” Visitors will be able to interact with a number of featured plants throughout the Conservatory’s galleries and the Garden’s landscape. Through video, audio, text, and augmented reality functionality, visitors will access informative content in a dynamic and engaging way.

As part of the mobile media program, following the Wild Medicine and Groundbreakers apps, the Garden will develop an additional application in 2015, coinciding with its next major summer exhibition. The New York Botanical Garden and Bloomberg have partnered since 2007, enhancing the visitor experience with interpretive tools. Visitors of all ages, families, teachers, and culture-seekers have the opportunity to engage with the Garden’s shows in transformative ways that further their understanding of the topics on display and expand their appreciation for both nature and the humanities. Smart devices pre-loaded with the Groundbreakers app are available on-site at The New York Botanical Garden (while supplies last) to be borrowed by visitors who do not own an iPhone.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2013, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $452 million. For more information on the philanthropy, please visit or follow them on Facebook and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.

About The New York Botanical Garden

An unforgettable departure from the everyday, The New York Botanical Garden is America’s premier urban garden. Its special exhibitions, seasonal programs, and engaging activities inspire visitors of every age and interest. The Botanical Garden is an ever-changing living museum, and a showplace of natural beauty and wonder. For more information, visit or call 718.817.8700.

The New York Botanical Garden is a museum of plants located at Bronx River Parkway (Exit 7W) and Fordham Road. It is easy to reach by Metro-North Railroad or subway. The Garden is open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday and Monday federal holidays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The best way to enjoy the Garden is with the All-Garden Pass, which includes admission to the grounds as well as to seasonal gardens, exhibitions, and attractions such as the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, and Tram Tour. For ticket pricing, please check our Web site. For more information, please call 718.817.8700 or visit The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10458 The New York Botanical Garden is located on property owned in full by the City of New York, and its operation is made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. A portion of the Garden’s general operating funds is provided by The New York City Council and The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The Bronx Borough President and Bronx elected representatives in the City Council and State Legislature provide leadership funding.

Media Contact: Nick Leshi at 718.817.8658 or