The Met x Microsoft x MIT: A Closer Look at the Collaboration

Maria Kessler
February 21, 2019

On February 4, 2019, The Met, Microsoft and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology gathered with invited guests from the technology and art worlds in the Great Hall of The Met Fifth Avenue to reveal a set of artificial-intelligence (AI) prototypes designed to highlight the potential of AI and open data to empower connections to art globally. The three organizations conducted a hackathon in mid-December with the goal to leverage The Met's images, data, and new subject-keyword dataset to spark new global connections to art through Microsoft AI.

"We strongly believe in these collaborations, and together, with MIT and Microsoft, we can further advance our mission to share not only The Met collection, but also our understanding of the art and the multiple narratives implicit in the works," said Max Hollein, director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This unique collaboration of Microsoft engineers and developers, MIT students and faculty, and Met curators and researchers, developed concepts and prototypes to enhance how both humans and machines can filter and analyze the Museum's collection. Some of the concepts were further advanced by participants, engineers, and externs in January. Five of the prototypes were on display at the event: Storyteller, Artwork of the Day, My Life, My Met, Gen Studio's Generist Maps, and Tag, That's It!

In her remarks introducing the five prototypes, Asta Roseway, principal and fusionist at Microsoft, stated that "what's really important is that through art we touch something deeper in ourselves. This deepness—this sincerity—it democratizes the platforms that AI and open source data provide for everyone. So everyone gets to get in. Think of artists being able to paint with data—that's what you're seeing tonight."

The reveal celebration also marked the second anniversary of The Met's Open Access program. These prototypes are just the start in demonstrating the growing potential of combining open data and technology.

Learn More

Banner for The Met x Microsoft x MIT hackathon

The Met, Microsoft, and MIT held a two-day hackathon session to explore how artificial intelligence could connect people to art. Learn about this collaboration and the prototypes it generated.

Learn more about The Met's Open Access initiative.

The Met's Open Access initiative is made possible through the continued support of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Maria Kessler

Maria Kessler is the senior program manager of digital partnerships in the Digital Department.