Category Archives: Digital Humanities

Knight Foundation makes a digital heritage dream possible

I’ve worked the past 13 years as an advocate for strategic digital initiatives at cultural institutions. Much of that time has been spent building  buy-in,  seeking resources, and working to keep the tech functioning. Oh yes … and building in time to see “what’s next,” then repeating the process. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to take a moment in gratitude when an idea takes root.  Thanks to Knight Foundation, this is one of those moments.

This past week, Knight awarded a $100,000 Museums and Technology grant to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, where I am contracted as digital strategist. The grant will enhance the visitor experience by using 3D documentation modeling and printing to allow visitors to explore spaces of this National Historic Landmark that are not accessible to the public. Those spaces include Vizcaya’s Barge (seen above), a partly submerged breakwater decorated with mythical sculptures by Alexander Calder, and the swimming pool grotto  which has a ceiling depicting an elaborate undersea scene designed by Robert Winthrop Chanler.

Vizcaya's Chanler Ceiling 3D Documentation Knight Foundation Grant
Chanler ceiling at Vizcaya

The project combines many of the interests I and many of my Vizcaya colleagues share–historic preservation/conservation, technology, and helping audiences internalize the interpretation of heritage resources. That extends to Vizcaya’s leadership team, which has been incredibly supportive of this holistic approach to 3D documentation.

We’ve got a very talented partner team on the project as well. The University of Florida Historic Preservation Program captures our 3D documentation, including both photogrammetry and laser scanning. Our technology partner will unlock ways to adapt UF’s point clouds into kiosk-based and virtual reality products. Additionally, Florida International University’s Miami Beach Urban Studios will be strategizing the development of 3D prints based UF’s laser scanning/photogrammetry.

It’s an exciting time to work in this field. Five years ago, the tech was not mature enough to attempt this concept. Now, we’re confident that we’ll create a model that can other cultural sites can replicate. We’ll be documenting our progress in a GitHub site. While this concept was always an intention, the Knight Foundation’s entry into the museums and technology space advances our efforts by years.

If you’re interested in learning more about 3D documentation, here is a primer to get you started.

Cathy Byrd of Fresh Art International recently interviewed my colleagues about digital initiatives at Vizcaya. Hear what they had to say at the SoundCloud embed below:

 

GLAM-Wiki use case for cultural heritage institutions

In 2013, I started up the GLAM-Wiki initiative at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to provide greater access to the organization’s rich store of historical art, books, instruments and oral histories related to the history of chemistry. The program initiative began with the hiring of Mary Ockerbloom as Wikipedian in Residence and continued with trainings and edit-a-thons that have gained participation throughout the Northeast U.S.

Accomplishments as of Spring 2014:

  • 329 Images contributed to Wikimedia Commons.
  • One million views for pages with CHF images in January 2014
  • 14 new articles on Wikipedia
  • 725 Wikipedia articles edited by Wikipedian in Residence
  • 4,000 edits on Wikipedia by Wikipedian in Residence
  • Nine “Did You Know” featured articles by Wikipedian in Residence
  • 145 Attendees at eight workshops and talks
  • 140 Attendees at GLAM Cafe Digital Humanities Events

“What is Wikipedia?” featuring Mary Mark Ockerbloom, Wikipedian in Residence through the GLAM-Wiki Initiative. Read more about her work here.

The full report on the program, with tactical advice for other cultural institutions, can be viewed and downloaded below.

Program Report: GLAM-Wiki @ChemHeritage by jkguin

Museum Interactive: Alchemical Quest Rare Books Exhibit Case Study

I managed development of a museum interactive for an exhibit called The Alchemical Quest, which featured rare books. The books originated during the golden age of alchemy, from the 16th and 17th centuries and were drawn from the collections of the Othmer Library of Chemical History. The report below documents the project team’s efforts to make these texts accessible and alive to visitors via a touch projection technology museum interactive.

Project Goals:

  • Reinforce the depth and complexity presented in the exhibition content
  • Implicitly reiterate the exhibition narratives while allowing for visitors to enjoy the imagery of the books through the interactive experience
  • Provide visitors with alternate means of experiencing the books in the exhibition
  • Foster curiosity and encourage deeper exploration of images and text
  • Demonstrate an example of an alchemical process in its entirety
  • Reflect the fantastical and practical balance found within the books

 

Case Study: Museum Interactive for The Alchemical Quest Exhibit by jkguin

 

Check out other downloadable case studies on Voices of the Past.

Case Study: Livestreamed Interactive Webcasts for Cultural Institutions

Drawing History: Telling the Stories of Science through Comics and Graphic Novels from ChemHeritage on Vimeo.

In 2013, as part of my work managing digital initiatives at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, I created a livestreamed program titled #HistChem to establish a deeper dialog with CHF’s audiences around topics of history, science and culture.

Among the program’s objectives:

  • Make the institution accessible by featuring its people, collections and research initiatives
  • Unify traditional & social media platforms
  • Spark compelling conversations about History & SciTech
  • Track effectiveness through metrics & social curation tools

A channel of the program’s episodes can be accessed here: https://vimeo.com/channels/789012

You can access the interim evaluation report with tips for other cultural institutions wishing to adopt livestreaming as well. View it below or by accessing this link: scribd.com/doc/232511146/Program-Report-Livestreaming-Engagement-Model-for-Cultural-Heritage

Program Report: Livestreaming Engagement Model for Cultural Heritage by jkguin