New Media faculty train curators to make a museum app

For the 2020 Maine Archives and Museums conference on October 8th, New Media professor Jon Ippolito offers a virtual but hands-on workshop that walks curators through making an iPhone or Android app to engage visitors with their collections.

Scavenger Hunt appWorkshop participants will create a scavenger hunt app that prompts visitors to find and check off artifacts on display. The app will be based on the free, versatile React Native framework used by Facebook, Instagram, and other prominent companies. Participants will learn the basics of React Native’s HTML-like tags, customize them to fit their collection, and test-drive this new app on their own Android or iOS device.

Diego Velazquez, Las MeninasIppolito also authored “Shuttered Gallery to Virtual Museum,” the cover story of the August 2020 Maine Archives and Museums Quarterly. The article surveys digital strategies for engaging visitors when your institution is closed, from simple Web pages to augmented reality apps.

The article describes an innovative project by Still Water Senior Researcher John Bell to create a three-dimensional version of a painting that has confounded art historians for decades.

John Bell is working with Dartmouth’s Karolina Kawiaka on a project that could let viewers step inside one of the world’s most famous paintings. A pinnacle of Baroque painting, Diego Velazquez’ 1656 Las Meninas has stumped generations of art historians who’ve tried to interpret its deceptively straightforward-looking perspective….Now Bell and Kawiaka are re-creating the room depicted in Las Meninas in virtual reality, populating this digital architecture with each of the figures to match the positions and angles implied by the canvas.

The article concludes with instructions on creating 3d models of objects in your collection with nothing more than your smartphone, drawn from an assignment for the introductory course in the University of Maine’s all-online Digital Curation graduate program.