Google Art Project – Bookmark It!

Check out the Google Art Project and explore art museums from around the world — some that you may have already visited and others that you hope to tour sometime in the future. I know that some museums here I may never get to visit, so it’s great to poke around. A parent and child or a grandparent and child can have lots of virtual fun exploring, viewing, and learning about actual pieces of art in each museum. Read the February 2, 2011 Washington Post article, Google Art Project: ‘Street View’ Technology Added to Museums, to learn more about some of the museums participating in Google Art Project.

The Chapel Where the Waverly Consort Performed

Just over a month ago I spent an amazing afternoon at The Cloisters Museum and Garden, a real medieval castle, imported from Spain, that is now a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. We spent time walking around, especially taking time to look at the Unicorn Tapestries. Then we went into one of the chapels to listen and watch the Waverly Consort perform a Medieval Christmas story. I love The Cloisters Museum, though, I can count my visits on one hand, since I’ve never lived close enough go more often.

So I was delighted a few days ago (February 1, 2011) when Google Art Project appeared, essentially opening a virtual door to a group of museums from around the world, including The Cloisters. This nifty new web site uses some of the same technology that helps people surf around to street views with maps and Google Earth. I chose the Metropolitan Museum from the list of museums, went right over to a visitor’s guide link on the top right of the page, and arrived within moments at The Cloisters. A few more clicks and there I was in the same austere, but beautiful chapel where I listened to the concert last month. Very cool.

It’s possible to make a list of favorite artworks, zoom way into a picture (closer than is possible at a museum)and each piece comes with a detailed description. To get started check out two videos, the Visitor’s Guide video as well as a quick behind-the-scenes glimpse at the technology used to make the virtual museum tours (one of those short, high-speed videos that Google loves to post).

Will virtual museums replace real visits?  Probably not. The Post article quotes Julian Raby, director of the Freer Gallery, a part of the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

The giga-pixel experience brings us very close to the essence of the artist through detail that simply can’t be seen in the gallery itself…Far from eliminating the necessity of seeing artworks in person, Art Project deepens our desire to go in search of the real thing.

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