Thanks to the Google Art Project, the Museum’s galleries are now available to be seen via Street View imagery. In addition, thirteen works of the 125 objects online are viewable in super high resolution or ‘gigapixel’ photo capturing technology. Using the Street View feature, visitors can virtually move around the Museum’s galleries selecting works of art that interest them by clicking to reveal high resolution images.
Each of these thirteen images contains seven billion pixels, enabling the viewer to study details of the brushwork beyond what is possible with the naked eye. Along with these efforts, an additional 25 high-resolution objects were added to the already existing 90 objects on the Google Art Project platform enabling people throughout the world to explore a sampling of its paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures.
A specially designed Street View ‘trolley’ took 360 degree images of the interior of selected galleries, which were then stitched together, enabling smooth navigation over the rooms within the Museum. The gallery interiors can also be explored directly from within Street View in Google Maps. The Museum’s exterior grounds and sculpture garden were captured using a back-mounted Google Maps Trekker camera, a 360-degree Street View mapping tool.
Adrienne Neszmelyi-Romano, Project Director and Director of Education, New Media and Interpretive Initiatives states, “We are extremely grateful to be part of this initiative, joining other major cultural institutions from around the world. It’s an honor to be one of the museums working with the Art Project’s cutting edge technologies. The Museum’s participation provides the public to see works that never have been on view, visit our galleries virtually, and to learn more about our collection. This is significant to our mission to reach a wider audience. The work of the Google Cultural Institute is an invaluable resource to the museum community.”
Director & CEO of the Michener Art Museum, Lisa Tremper Hanover added, “When presented with this opportunity, the Museum’s staff responded with enthusiasm and brought their significant resources to the table to accomplish the work necessary to make this partnership a success. We are now at the forefront of making our art treasures accessible to a world-wide audience.”
Visitors to the Google Art Project can browse works by artist’s name, artwork, type of art, museum, country, collections and time period. Google+ and video hangouts are integrated on the site, allowing viewers to invite their friends to view and discuss their favorite works in a video chat or follow a guided tour from an expert to gain an appreciation of a particular topic or art collection.
The ‘My Gallery‘ feature allows users to save specific views of any of art works and build their own personalized gallery. Comments can be added to each painting and the entire gallery can be shared. It is an ideal tool for students or groups to work on collaborative projects or collections. In addition, a feature called ‘Compare’ enables the viewer to examine two pieces of artwork side-by-side to see how an artist’s style evolved over time, connect trends across cultures or delve deeply into two parts of the same work.
The Art Project is part of the Google Cultural Institute, which is dedicated to creating technology that helps the cultural community to bring their art, archives, heritage sites and other material online. The aim is to increase the range and volume of material from the cultural world that is available for people to explore online and in doing so, democratize access to it and preserve it for future generations.