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Digital Underground

This Day in Met History: The Opening of the Junior Museum

Stephanie Post, Senior Digital Asset Specialist, Digital Media

Posted: Thursday, October 16, 2014

In 1941 the Museum decided to consolidate staff charged with maintaining contact with schools, colleges, institutions of the city, and the Department of Education into one cohesive group, entitled the Department of Education and Museum Extension. This division would encompass general guide services, adult education and lecture programs, curatorial study rooms, circulating exhibitions and lending collections, visual materials (lantern slides, photographs), and the Junior Museum.

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Digital Underground

New and Familiar Pilgrimages: Viewing The Cloisters with Google Glass

Neal Stimler, Digital Asset Specialist, Digital Media

Posted: Monday, October 13, 2014

This past May, I made a familiar pilgrimage to The Cloisters, the northern Manhattan branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Fort Tryon Park. The Cloisters are a unique treasure of the museum world, featuring beautiful gardens, a stunning collection of medieval art, and majestic spaces. The purpose of my journey was to spend the day with Museum staff testing Google Glass. The camera within Google Glass would be the focus of our exploration on this memorable day, helping my colleagues and I to see the space in new ways.

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Digital Underground

Media Lab Intern Spotlight: Rui Hu's Metropolitan Triangle Garden

Rui Hu, Former Media Lab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Last winter I attended a presentation at Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center, where I had previously worked as an intern. One of the speakers was Don Undeen, senior manager of Media Lab at the Met, who presented many interesting projects his Media Lab colleagues were working on that used a number of emerging technologies. Among these technologies were 3D scanning and 3D printing, which I had a particular interest in thanks to my background in video, 3D animation, photography, and sculpture.

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Digital Underground

Launch Is Just the Start: The Met App V.1.1

Loic Tallon, Senior Mobile Manager

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2014

With the Met App now launched, it's been fantastic tracking the public response to this new digital product. I was delighted that the app was featured as one of the Best New Apps in the AppStore, and that The New York Times praised the app for its "lovely, clean design that begs to be explored." And, in case you missed it, I also enjoyed the playful overview of our press launch in ArtNews.

My favorite article, though, has been Seth Porge's piece for Forbes: "The Met's New App Is Modest, But Could Foreshadow Big Things." Porge reviews the app through the lens of the Lean Startup playbook: "Design a product, work out the kinks, see how people use it, and build and iterate off that;" and argues that "the current version [of the app] can be viewed as the Met's minimal viable product (MVP)."

That's exactly how we see it, too.

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Digital Underground

Gaming at the Met: A New Approach to Engaging Museum Visitors

Sharang Biswas, Solow Art and Architecture Intern in Digital Learning, Digital Media

Posted: Friday, September 5, 2014

Games—and video games in particular—are often consigned to the unfortunate category of "frivolous," thought to sap away valuable time that could be spent pursuing more sophisticated, "useful" activities. I'm glad that the Metropolitan Museum feels otherwise: my focus this summer, as the Solow Art and Architecture Intern in Digital Learning, has been to create game and play experiences to educate and engage kids ages seven through twelve with the Museum and its collection.

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Digital Underground

Media Lab Intern Spotlight: Exploring Algorithms in Islamic Art through Augmented Reality

Betty Quinn, Former Media Lab Intern, Digital Media; and Sarah Wever, Former Media Lab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Department of Islamic Art's fifteen galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia are some of the most visually striking in the entire Museum. Located on the second floor of the North Wing, visitors are greeted by elaborate patterns carved and painted on many objects—from ceramic bowls to tapestries and arches. Tiles tessellate in repeating patterns across the walls, and in one room the ceiling is covered with intricately carved geometric patterns. With a collection of over twelve thousand objects, these galleries illustrate the fascinating diversity of the culture of Islam.

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Digital Underground

The Jade Room and Other Forgotten Museum Spaces

Stephanie Post, Senior Digital Asset Specialist, Digital Media

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Museum's Main Building at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street has practically been under construction since it was first completed in 1880. Growing and changing to accommodate the ever-expanding collection and visitor base, the building has been shaped by each director's initiatives, all with an eye toward accommodating future needs and demands. Wings have been added, galleries have been reconfigured, spaces have been renovated and changed time and time again, and some are wholly unrecognizable from their earliest days. In order to accommodate the collection, the Museum strives to create the perfect atmosphere for its artworks; curators strive to convey time and place, history and subtext—maintaining a great sensitivity to the past, but remaining firmly steeped in the present.

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Digital Underground

Met + Parsons Museum Accessibility Collaboration Workshop: Accessible Wayfinding

Don Undeen, Senior Manager of Media Lab, Digital Media; and Rebecca McGinnis, Senior Museum Educator, Access and Community Programs

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2014

Digital Underground continues its Met + Parsons Museum Accessibility Workshop series by taking a look at a project that tackled the thorny problem of accessible wayfinding in a large, overwhelming museum such as the Met. Not only did the participants in this group develop a paper prototype outlining a user interface for wayfinding, they also did the practical work of walking through the Museum's first floor and identifying multiple points of accessibility metadata (stairs, lighting, acoustics, flooring, etc.) for every room. This effort led directly to a follow-up project during the following semester by Media Lab Intern Yuliya Parchina-Kottas, which you can read more about in her Digital Underground post. We caught up with this workshop team to discuss the inspiration for their project, and how the workshop helped them to better understand the museum experience.

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Digital Underground

Met + Parsons Museum Accessibility Collaboration Workshop: Eye on Art

Don Undeen, Senior Manager of Media Lab, Digital Media; and Rebecca McGinnis, Senior Museum Educator, Access and Community Programs

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014

During the Fall 2013 semester, the Met and Parsons The New School for Design forged a new partnership, Met + Parsons Museum Accessibility Collaboration Workshop, to explore possibilities for using technology to improve the museum experience for visitors with disabilities. Our first featured project from that workshop, Eye on Art, focused on developing an eye-tracking system that would enhance the experiences of nonverbal and mobility-challenged art lovers. We recently sat down with the student participants to discuss their inspiration for this project, and the challenges they encountered in the process.

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Digital Underground

Media Lab Intern Spotlight: Decho Pitukcharoen's 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners

Decho Pitukcharoen, Former Media Lab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

As part of my work as a Media Lab intern, I created an educational booklet about fundamental 3D-printing processes, 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners, which will help the Met's staff and visitors to better understand how to create and print 3D models with 123D Catch and other open-source software. The booklet was designed to build on the Media Lab's practice of helping audiences use 3D models of objects in the Met's collection for their own creative purposes. There are three main chapters in my booklet—Scanning, Modeling, and Printing—as well as some examples of how to create a new art project inspired by reproduction art, an idea I got from John Berger's Ways of Seeing.

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About this Blog

The Digital Media Department leads the creation, production, presentation, and dissemination of multimedia content to support the viewing and understanding of the Met's collection and exhibitions, both within the galleries and online. This blog discusses a few of the activities of the department, and invites your questions and comments about the Museum's digital initiatives.


Above: Jim Campbell (American, born 1956). Motion and Rest #2 (detail), 2002. Light-emitting-diodes (LED) and custom electronics. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Henry Nias Foundation Inc. Gift, 2004 (2004.105). © Jim Campbell