Art Gallery of New South Wales launches myVirtualGallery
Thursday, 26 May 2005 The Art Gallery of New South Wales today launched an exciting, new way to explore and interact with its collection, online: myVirtualGallery.
In a first for Australia, and one of only a handful of related projects worldwide, myVirtualGallery gives visitors insight into the role of a curator, by allowing them to assemble their own exhibitions, using artworks from the Gallery's extensive collection. It even gives them the opportunity to contribute their exhibitions to the website.
Creating an exhibition is simple: starting with a single wall, search the collection, choose an artwork and write a short introduction. Then give the exhibition a working title and click "SAVE". Continue building - taking as much time as you like - by adding extra walls and artworks.
Two years in the making, myVirtualGallery is the brainchild of Jonathan Cooper, the Gallery"s Manager of Information. "The general idea of a virtual gallery has been bouncing around in my head since 1998," said Cooper, "but it wasn't until I saw the experimental "Virtual Gallery" of the Fine Art Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) in 2002 that the plans for what was to become myVirtualGallery began to take shape. I decided to build on the success of the FAMSF model to create a richer and more involving experience for our visitors." Although the conceptual and navigational design was done in-house, the actual programming work was done by Squiz.net, one of the world's leading open-source online developers.
While there is a natural link with formal education, myVirtualGallery is designed for anyone who enjoys art and the dialogue it can stimulate: from teachers, lecturers and students to the general public. Tristan Sharp, the Gallery's Coordinator of Education Programmes, is particularly excited by its potential: "By allowing students to manipulate, experiment and make their own connections, myVirtualGallery creates the ideal environment for personal engagement to occur, an essential ingredient of learning," he said. "I can see all sorts of possibilities. I think it's a landmark achievement in the area of online museum services."
Visit it now: www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/mvg
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