April 11-14, 2007
San Francisco, California

Demonstrations: Description

Through the Looking Glass: Representing Cultural Heritage Online

Melissa Carrillo, Smithsonian Institution, USA

The Smithsonian Institution reaches audiences well beyond its physical structures and offers substantial educational experiences online. Since the emergence of new technologies and new media, the Institution's museums have continually striven to incorporate in their websites alternate modes of exhibition viewing and content. Virtual installations address visitors' needs to access content/ collections in new and exciting ways and increase the diffusion of knowledge. For the Smithsonian Latino Center, building a dynamic online virtual space that will both serve as a repository and display of Smithsonian Latino Collections poses challenges since the virtual museum will predate a physical one. But at the same time it affords great creative opportunities to experiment with audience reception and participation in virtual and interactive spaces and galleries; visual representation of collections; new modes of interactive interpretation and display; building on folksonomy and exploring new ways of museum viewing experiences drawing from classical theoreticians in film, visual culture and museum studies Through a demonstration of work in progress, we will illustrate choices in 3D technology and our quest to know more about design in virtual space, and how to create spaces and processes that facilitate new kinds of interaction and learning. We will discuss models that were introduced in previous Museums and the Web Conferences that influenced our work [3D for Cultural Heritage and Education 2006; and 2006].This will be the first time that Smithsonian museums will collaborate in merging their Latino digital assets "collections" to one main repository that will be hosted by the Center's virtual museum interface, hosted either by Second Life or Active Worlds virtual environment. The emphasis will be on building community among visitors, teachers, children, researchers and the general public interested in Latino history, art and culture.

Demonstration: Demonstrations - 1 [Close-Up]

Keywords: Digital Library, virtual museums, virtual exhibits, 3D digitization, 3D object scanning, 3D visualization