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Digital Underground

Color The Temple: Using Projected Light to Restore Color

Matt Felsen, Former MediaLab Intern, Digital Department; Erin Peters, Former Chester Dale Fellow, Department of Egyptian Art; and Maria Paula Saba, Former MediaLab Intern, Digital Department

Posted: Thursday, December 24, 2015

One of the goals of the MediaLab is to explore the use of design and emerging technologies to improve the museum experience. Projection mapping, also known as spatial augmented reality, is a technology that can turn physical objects and buildings into a surface for projected light. This technique creates an enhanced experience for the audience by combining digital information with real objects. While the MediaLab was exploring how projection mapping could be used in the Museum, an opportunity arose to collaborate with the Department of Egyptian Art.

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Digital Underground

All Who Serve the Museum's Mission: The Staff

Stephanie Post, Senior Digital Asset Specialist, Digital

Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2015

Just as the buildings of The Metropolitan Museum of Art have been growing and changing since the Museum first opened, so too has the staff. Despite the inherent importance of the staff, the first several decades of Annual Reports frequently only listed senior staff and the trustees; the Board of Trustees simply recognized support staff as being "much appreciated" in early reports. However, in 1926, fifty-five years after the Museum's founding, the growing number of staff—specifically the support staff—was too large to ignore. That year's Annual Report offered the following comparative figures to help provide some perspective:

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Digital Underground

Data Stories Centralized: A Digital Analytics Dashboard

Elena Villaespesa, Digital Media Analyst

Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2015

The volume of digital activities generated at the Met is pretty impressive, reaching millions of users through multiple channels: videos, social media, website updates, email campaigns, blog posts, the app, audio guide, in-gallery interactives, and more. With so many activities, it's important to track the impact of each project in order to set priorities and allocate resources. This is where data can help, and one of the keys to establishing a data-driven culture within an organization is to report the results internally. My colleagues already send regular emails with metrics about their projects, but as the digital media analyst, my role is to go beyond individual reports and present a full picture of work carried out by the department. With that in mind, I've started working on a dashboard that will display all the data in a single place. This will help monitor trends and compare the results of each of the digital initiatives within a wider context. The main objective of having a dashboard is to communicate the impact of our digital initiatives and to be able to make decisions in an effective and rapid way.

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Digital Underground

Close-Ups, Special Scans, and Purrfect Artworks: The Met Chrome Extensions

Emily McAllister, Former MediaLab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Monday, October 26, 2015

The Met Chrome Extensions deliver an unexpected and intriguing experience each time a Google Chrome user opens a new tab by sharing a breathtaking image from the Met's Collection Online, fostering daily interaction and encouraging curiosity. Three distinct prototypes include the popular Meow Met, a peek into the extravagant lives of cats at the Met; The Met Magnified, which features extreme, abstracted close-ups of object details; and Micro Met, which explores ethereal perspectives of objects captured using a scanning electron microscope (SEM).

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Digital Underground

Next Steps in the Met's Digital Evolution

Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer; and Loic Tallon, Deputy Chief of Digital

Posted: Thursday, October 22, 2015

Last week, the Met's Twitter feed marked the twentieth anniversary of the launch of the Museum's website. A look back at the press release, "Metropolitan Museum to inaugurate Internet homepage on World Wide Web," shows how forward-thinking the Met was at the time (this is almost two years before google.com was registered as a domain and before some major U.S. universities had launched their sites). It also shows how far we and the world of technology have come since then. Along the way, the Met created a Digital Media Department, about six years ago.

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Digital Underground

Experiencing the Met in Social Media

Carlos Kong, Former Social Media Intern, Digital Media Department

Posted: Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Throughout my summer internship in social media as a part of the Met's MuSe Internship Program, I have been fascinated by the interaction between our everyday digital practices and the museum experience. In what ways can social media supplement the Met's physical setting and present the experience of its collection to a global audience? This question guided my journey into the Met's digital world, where I spent the summer experimenting with the inventive potential of technology and how it can recreate a museum visit online. Now a month past the end of my internship—still thinking of social media's unknowable possibilities and still challenged by 140-character limits—here are my reflections on the experience.

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Digital Underground

Meet the Team: Elena Villaespesa

Eileen Willis, Web Group General Manager

Posted: Friday, October 9, 2015

One of our newest team members is Digital Media Analyst Elena Villaespesa, who joined the Met earlier this year. In this recently created role, Elena will establish and oversee an analytics program to monitor and assess departmental channels, platforms, and programs. She'll also conduct user research and develop reports to understand the fluctuations in data and identify trends and opportunities to optimize the department's (and the Museum's) digital projects. Elena plans to write about her work for Digital Underground, and she agreed to answer a few questions by way of introduction.

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Digital Underground

Multisensory Met: Touch, Smell, and Hear Art

Ezgi Ucar, Former MediaLab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Tuesday, September 8, 2015

In the majority of museums, visitors can only experience the artworks by viewing them. Most museums work to make sure that galleries have neutral smells and sounds so that the visitor can focus on the artworks, but those factors can alter the experience significantly. All of the senses—sight, sound, touch, smell, and hearing—are a part of the museum experience.

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Digital Underground

The Original #EmptyMet: The Museum, ca. 1925

Stephanie Post, Senior Digital Asset Specialist, Digital

Posted: Monday, August 3, 2015

From 1916 to 1923, the southernmost end of the Museum was, simply put, an empty shell, "void of any walls except those which were necessary for the support of floors and the roof" (The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 21, No. 4, Apr. 1926, 3). The completion of Wings J and K were long delayed due to insufficient city funding, followed by the onset of World War I and the economic depression of the postwar years. By 1923, funding was finally complete and the long-awaited plans of McKim, Mead and White, were actualized. Wing K opened on April 7, 1925.

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Digital Underground

The Flow Project: Connecting Colors and Movement

Qiu Yi Wu, Former MediaLab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has been a great space for me to work with things I'm passionate about while helping to create something innovative for the Museum. Don Undeen made me feel comfortable in my new environment, and I was able to meet and learn from the staff of many different departments. My goal was to translate Impressionist techniques into a live experience for visitors because it is an artistic style that has profoundly affected my work.

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Digital Underground

Mapping User Feedback on the Met App

Liz Filardi, Media Producer, Digital Media; and Spencer Kiser, Media Technology Manager, Digital Media

Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ten months after the launch of the Met app, the most frequent feedback we receive is still more or less, "It's beautifully designed, but where is the map of the Museum?" We can now shelve this question with the recent launch of version 1.2 in the App Store, because the map is finally here!

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Digital Underground

Find Your Way with Met Explorer

Rodrigo Narciso, Former MediaLab Intern

Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2015

When I applied to the MediaLab's internship program, I was very interested in working on projects that aim to enhance the museum experience. The Met is one of the most visited museums in the world, and it's so big that even staff with years of experience can sometimes feel lost. With these two things in mind, I focused on building on one of the wayfinding projects completed during the previous semester.

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Digital Underground

Improving the Audio Guide: A Look at Our Visitors

Grace Tung, Digital Media Associate, Creative Development, Digital Media

Posted: Friday, June 19, 2015

The Audio Guide is a long-standing service at the Museum with over three thousand audio messages attracting 250,000 users annually. It offers six to eight special exhibition tours and can be accessed in up to nine major foreign languages. In September 2013, the Museum launched a new version of the Audio Guide complete with a redesigned interface and repackaged content. This presented a fresh opportunity for us to take a more strategic look at the Audio Guide and see how well it has performed since its rebirth.

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Digital Underground

Edible Met: Eating Art to Understand

Jimmy Tang, Former MediaLab Intern; and Yuanjin Zhao, Former MediaLab Intern

Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2015

For our MediaLab internship during the fall 2014 semester, Yuanjin and I collaborated to create Edible Met, a DIY food-grade molding and casting kit that turns 3D-printed objects into edible items.

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Digital Underground

Analyzing #MetGala Engagement across the Globe

Elena Villaespesa, Digital Media Analyst; and Taylor Newby, Social Media Manager

Posted: Thursday, May 28, 2015

On Monday, May 4, 2015, the Met and Vogue hosted the annual Costume Institute Benefit, which celebrated this year's spring exhibition, China: Through the Looking Glass, on view through August 16. Notables from the worlds of fashion, film, society, sports, art, business, and music attended the Met Gala and were captured walking the red carpet across a wide range of social media.

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Digital Underground

Inspired by Women Artists: FEMET

Joselyn McDonald, Former MediaLab Intern

Posted: Tuesday, May 26, 2015

FEMET is a sound and video art installation that interprets and reflects on the lives of five esteemed women artists in the Met's collection, presented at the Fall 2014 MediaLab Expo held in the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education. This interactive installation invited its audience to watch an artist's meditations on the complicated lives of Diane Arbus, Georgia O'Keeffe, Artemisia Gentileschi, Shirin Neshat, and Joyce Growing Thunder Fogarty.

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Digital Underground

Paintings Uncovered

Betty Quinn, Former MediaLab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Paintings Uncovered is an interactive interface that allows users to explore the hidden layers found beneath a painting's surface. Painters frequently paint over paintings for various reasons—even sometimes with a completely different subject. One reason for this may be that the original painting didn't sell, so the artist reused the canvas to create an entirely new painting. Examining the underlying surfaces of paintings through powerful technology provides valuable information about the artworks.

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Digital Underground

Last Week in the Future: Notes from MuseumNext

Eileen Willis, Web Group General Manager

Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"What's next for museums?"

That was the question on hundreds of red tote bags seen on the streets of Geneva last week during the MuseumNext conference, which took place April 19–21. Panelists addressed the question from various angles, from finding new models of financial support to understanding leadership styles within museums to accommodating wearable technology in the galleries. As the representative from the Met, I had the opportunity to meet museum professionals from cultural institutions of all types and sizes, including a colleague from Liechtenstein (which means I've met 0.0027% of that country's population).

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Digital Underground

Tour the Met on Your Smartphone

Dante Clemons, Interactive Media Producer

Posted: Friday, April 24, 2015

In a previous post, we introduced a beta release of the Audio Guide web app, giving users access to over sixty hours of Audio Guide content in ten languages. Since then, we've considered how to broaden the opportunity for users to engage with the Audio Guide further. Naturally, the next step was to add the ability to access tours and to do so in the user's preferred language.

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Digital Underground

Picturing Met Museum through Visitors' Eyes

Helen D. Wall, Former MediaLab Volunteer

Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Met's Collection Online lets viewers browse through thousands of high-quality images of the Museum's vast holdings. Another rich depository of artwork images is the Museum's group pool on Flickr (a popular site for sharing photographic albums, with a free terabyte of online storage), where visitors post their own photos taken while touring the galleries. In this study, I took a closer look at what visitors were photographing and how they shared their photos online.

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Digital Underground

Beacons: Exploring Location-Based Technology in Museums

Veronika Doljenkova, Former MediaLab Intern, Digital Media; and Grace Tung, Digital Media Associate, Creative Development, Digital Media

Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015

As mobile technology is developing, the boundary between the physical and the digital user experience is rapidly disappearing. Visitors who enter enclosed public spaces such as galleries, malls, airports, and museums are expecting to receive a mobile experience that is highly relevant, convenient, and delivered in a timely and seamless manner.

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Digital Underground

"Caravans of Art": The Neighborhood Circulating Exhibition Series, 1933–42

Stephanie Post, Senior Digital Asset Specialist, Digital

Posted: Thursday, March 26, 2015

Beginning in 1933, in the shadow of the Great Depression, the Museum began an initiative known as "Neighborhood Circulating Exhibitions." This experiment was a collection of traveling exhibitions, composed exclusively of Museum-owned objects, to be exhibited in the neighborhoods of "certain groups in the city's population that have not thus far had the adequate opportunity to take advantage of the Museum's services" (The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 28, No. 11, Part 1, Nov. 1933, 183). The works were to be exhibited, at the expense of the Museum, in neighborhood spaces such as settlement houses, branches of the New York Public Library, municipal offices, and schools.

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Digital Underground

Art, Robots, and Chocolate at the Fall 2014 Media Lab Expo

Don Undeen, Senior Manager of MediaLab, Digital Department

Posted: Friday, March 6, 2015

Each semester Media Lab works with a group of college and graduate interns, exploring the ways that technology impacts, and is impacted by, the Museum experience. Media Lab interns are encouraged to think outside of the box, to engage deeply with the Museum's staff, collection, and visitors, and come up with novel prototypes that encourage conversation and spur new thinking about the relationship between contemporary digital practice and centuries of artistic tradition. At the conclusion of the internship, participants present their projects to the public at the Media Lab Expo. Visitors can try out hands-on demos and talk to the creators themselves about their work and ideas.

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Digital Underground

Metaverses—Merging Time, Space, and Content through Augmented Reality

Justine Williams, Former Media Lab Volunteer, Digital Media; Jason Schuler, Former Media Lab Volunteer, Digital Media; Patrícia Faolli, Former Media Lab Volunteer, Digital Media; and Vanessa Gilbert, Former Media Lab Volunteer, Digital Media

Posted: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

We are four interdisciplinary artists pursuing Master of Fine Arts degrees at PIMA, Brooklyn College. From January through May 2014, we were in residence at the Met's Media Lab, working in collaboration with five artists over the age of sixty who live and work at the Westbeth Home to the Arts in New York City's West Village. Together we created "Metaverses"—an augmented-reality tour of some of the Museum's collection.

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Digital Underground

Artwork of the Day: What Would You Pick?

Eileen Willis, Web Group General Manager

Posted: Monday, February 2, 2015

When I joined the Met as Website Editor in 2006, the Artwork of the Day feature—which appeared on our old website's "splash page"—was limited to a small set of preselected, curatorially approved works of art. I felt we had a great opportunity to change the process. Why be limited to a small number of works when the Museum's collection is so vast? And why not tie the picks to actual events, either current or historic? That first year, I even included special birthday picks for my friends and family. These days, I select works that relate more broadly to historic and current events, holidays, artists' birthdays, Museum milestones, and even the weather forecast.

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Digital Underground

Maintaining the Main Building: The Museum's Trade Workshops

Stephanie Post, Senior Digital Asset Specialist, Digital

Posted: Monday, January 26, 2015

Hidden behind the galleries, unseen by visitors, lies a veritable city within the Museum's walls. In support of the Met's buildings and daily activities are highly skilled, highly dedicated tradesmen, and our many workshops see the tireless work of carpenters, engineers, lampers, painters, plexi-workers, plumbers, riggers, roofers, landscapers, electricians, machinists/millwrights, and locksmiths. The product of their work is knowable by the constant fine-tuning of our galleries and buildings, and by the comfort of visitors and employees who spend their days at the Museum. Their work has gone on without much fanfare, but without their expert efforts the Museum would struggle to subsist.

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Digital Underground

Media Lab Intern Spotlight: Rock Zou's Beyond the Screen

Rock Zou, Former Media Lab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Thursday, January 15, 2015

During my Media Lab internship this summer, I explored a prototype project that uses two Kinect depth sensors to reconstruct a scene that can be viewed from different perspectives based on the viewer's position. What I then created (seen in the video above) is a 3D-video-converted GIF shot with two Kinect depth sensors pointing at the dancer, Veronika, from opposing sides. The 3D images from each sensor are then put together in post-production, resulting in this all-around 360-degree video.

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Digital Underground

New Features and Increased Accessibility: Introducing Met App V.1.1

Liz Filardi, Media Producer, Digital Media

Posted: Monday, January 5, 2015

The newest version of the Met App, V.1.1, was released earlier today, and includes dozens of design and usability refinements inspired by feedback from our users. Among a number of new enhancements being rolled out, I hope users will enjoy the new "Favorites" feature, which enables the creation of personal lists of exhibitions, artworks, and events happening across the Museum. I can't wait to see what makes it to the shortlists of our 134,000-plus users.

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Digital Underground

Our Year in Blogging: A Few Highlights

Eileen Willis, Web Group General Manager

Posted: Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Met Blogs grew dramatically this year, with hundreds of new posts published across twelve different blogs. As my colleagues and I look forward to bringing you even more content in the year ahead, it seems appropriate to take a moment to reflect on some of the highlights of 2014, and to point out a few posts that you may have missed. 

What follows is a snapshot of what we've published—just enough to show that it's been a fantastic year thanks primarily to our willing and generous authors (as of this post we are up to 313 contributors!), a tireless editorial team (Website Managing Editor Anne Dunleavy and Website Editor Michael Cirigliano II), and, especially, to our readers.

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Digital Underground

Met + Parsons Museum Accessibility Collaboration Workshop: Web Accessibility for Museums

Don Undeen, Senior Manager of MediaLab, Digital Department; and Rebecca McGinnis, Senior Museum Educator, Access and Community Programs

Posted: Monday, December 8, 2014

Digital Underground finishes its Met + Parsons Museum Accessibility Workshop series by taking a look at a project that addresses the need for clear, practical guidelines for creating accessible websites. In the end, the participants in this project produced two documents that can serve as guidelines for coding accessible websites and developing verbal descriptions of art objects. We caught up with the team to ask them some questions about their goals in this workshop, and what they discovered about the museum experience while engaged in the workshop.

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Digital Underground

Consistent Engagement Is the Key to Twitter Success for Museums

Lucy Redoglia, Former Associate Online Community Producer, Digital Media

Posted: Monday, December 1, 2014

In a recent study by LaMagnética, the Spanish digital agency found the Met to be the most influential museum in the world on Twitter.

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Digital Underground

The Met's Audio Guide, Now Available on Your Phone

Loic Tallon, Deputy Chief of Digital

Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Today we've launched the public beta version of our new Audio Guide web app. For the first time, visitors can access our 2,601 audio stops, totaling over sixty hours of content in ten languages, from any web-enabled mobile device, be it iOS (Apple), Android, Windows, or Blackberry.

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Digital Underground

Media Lab Intern Spotlight: Laura Chen's Virtual Reality Tour of the Met

Laura Chen, Former Media Lab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Thursday, October 30, 2014

For my Media Lab internship during the Spring 2014 semester, I decided to pair 3D models of the Met's structure I received from the Buildings Department with official Audio Guide content. The aim was to construct an immersive virtual-reality tour of the Museum, complete with 3D-scanned models of art pieces on view in the galleries of Greek and Roman Art. This environment, created with the game engine Unity, can be experienced either on a computer screen or through the virtual-reality head-mounted display Oculus Rift.

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Digital Underground

This Day in Met History: The Opening of the Junior Museum

Stephanie Post, Senior Digital Asset Specialist, Digital

Posted: Thursday, October 16, 2014

In 1941 the Museum decided to consolidate staff charged with maintaining contact with schools, colleges, institutions of the city, and the Department of Education into one cohesive group, entitled the Department of Education and Museum Extension. This division would encompass general guide services, adult education and lecture programs, curatorial study rooms, circulating exhibitions and lending collections, visual materials (lantern slides, photographs), and the Junior Museum.

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Digital Underground

New and Familiar Pilgrimages: Viewing The Cloisters with Google Glass

Neal Stimler, Digital Asset Specialist, Digital Media

Posted: Monday, October 13, 2014

This past May, I made a familiar pilgrimage to The Cloisters, the northern Manhattan branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Fort Tryon Park. The Cloisters are a unique treasure of the museum world, featuring beautiful gardens, a stunning collection of medieval art, and majestic spaces. The purpose of my journey was to spend the day with Museum staff testing Google Glass. The camera within Google Glass would be the focus of our exploration on this memorable day, helping my colleagues and I to see the space in new ways.

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Digital Underground

Media Lab Intern Spotlight: Rui Hu's Metropolitan Triangle Garden

Rui Hu, Former Media Lab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Last winter I attended a presentation at Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center, where I had previously worked as an intern. One of the speakers was Don Undeen, senior manager of Media Lab at the Met, who presented many interesting projects his Media Lab colleagues were working on that used a number of emerging technologies. Among these technologies were 3D scanning and 3D printing, which I had a particular interest in thanks to my background in video, 3D animation, photography, and sculpture.

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Digital Underground

Launch Is Just the Start: The Met App V.1.1

Loic Tallon, Deputy Chief of Digital

Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2014

With the Met App now launched, it's been fantastic tracking the public response to this new digital product. I was delighted that the app was featured as one of the Best New Apps in the AppStore, and that The New York Times praised the app for its "lovely, clean design that begs to be explored." And, in case you missed it, I also enjoyed the playful overview of our press launch in ArtNews.

My favorite article, though, has been Seth Porge's piece for Forbes: "The Met's New App Is Modest, But Could Foreshadow Big Things." Porge reviews the app through the lens of the Lean Startup playbook: "Design a product, work out the kinks, see how people use it, and build and iterate off that;" and argues that "the current version [of the app] can be viewed as the Met's minimal viable product (MVP)."

That's exactly how we see it, too.

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Digital Underground

Gaming at the Met: A New Approach to Engaging Museum Visitors

Sharang Biswas, Solow Art and Architecture Intern in Digital Learning, Digital Media

Posted: Friday, September 5, 2014

Games—and video games in particular—are often consigned to the unfortunate category of "frivolous," thought to sap away valuable time that could be spent pursuing more sophisticated, "useful" activities. I'm glad that the Metropolitan Museum feels otherwise: my focus this summer, as the Solow Art and Architecture Intern in Digital Learning, has been to create game and play experiences to educate and engage kids ages seven through twelve with the Museum and its collection.

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Digital Underground

Media Lab Intern Spotlight: Exploring Algorithms in Islamic Art through Augmented Reality

Betty Quinn, Former MediaLab Intern, Digital Media; and Sarah Wever, Former Media Lab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Department of Islamic Art's fifteen galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia are some of the most visually striking in the entire Museum. Located on the second floor of the North Wing, visitors are greeted by elaborate patterns carved and painted on many objects—from ceramic bowls to tapestries and arches. Tiles tessellate in repeating patterns across the walls, and in one room the ceiling is covered with intricately carved geometric patterns. With a collection of over twelve thousand objects, these galleries illustrate the fascinating diversity of the culture of Islam.

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Digital Underground

The Jade Room and Other Forgotten Museum Spaces

Stephanie Post, Senior Digital Asset Specialist, Digital

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Museum's Main Building at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street has practically been under construction since it was first completed in 1880. Growing and changing to accommodate the ever-expanding collection and visitor base, the building has been shaped by each director's initiatives, all with an eye toward accommodating future needs and demands. Wings have been added, galleries have been reconfigured, spaces have been renovated and changed time and time again, and some are wholly unrecognizable from their earliest days. In order to accommodate the collection, the Museum strives to create the perfect atmosphere for its artworks; curators strive to convey time and place, history and subtext—maintaining a great sensitivity to the past, but remaining firmly steeped in the present.

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Digital Underground

Met + Parsons Museum Accessibility Collaboration Workshop: Accessible Wayfinding

Don Undeen, Senior Manager of MediaLab, Digital Department; and Rebecca McGinnis, Senior Museum Educator, Access and Community Programs

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2014

Digital Underground continues its Met + Parsons Museum Accessibility Workshop series by taking a look at a project that tackled the thorny problem of accessible wayfinding in a large, overwhelming museum such as the Met. Not only did the participants in this group develop a paper prototype outlining a user interface for wayfinding, they also did the practical work of walking through the Museum's first floor and identifying multiple points of accessibility metadata (stairs, lighting, acoustics, flooring, etc.) for every room. This effort led directly to a follow-up project during the following semester by Media Lab Intern Yuliya Parchina-Kottas, which you can read more about in her Digital Underground post. We caught up with this workshop team to discuss the inspiration for their project, and how the workshop helped them to better understand the museum experience.

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Digital Underground

Met + Parsons Museum Accessibility Collaboration Workshop: Eye on Art

Don Undeen, Senior Manager of MediaLab, Digital Department; and Rebecca McGinnis, Senior Museum Educator, Access and Community Programs

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014

During the Fall 2013 semester, the Met and Parsons The New School for Design forged a new partnership, Met + Parsons Museum Accessibility Collaboration Workshop, to explore possibilities for using technology to improve the museum experience for visitors with disabilities. Our first featured project from that workshop, Eye on Art, focused on developing an eye-tracking system that would enhance the experiences of nonverbal and mobility-challenged art lovers. We recently sat down with the student participants to discuss their inspiration for this project, and the challenges they encountered in the process.

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Digital Underground

Media Lab Intern Spotlight: Decho Pitukcharoen's 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners

Decho Pitukcharoen, Former Media Lab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

As part of my work as a Media Lab intern, I created an educational booklet about fundamental 3D-printing processes, 3D Printing Booklet for Beginners, which will help the Met's staff and visitors to better understand how to create and print 3D models with 123D Catch and other open-source software. The booklet was designed to build on the Media Lab's practice of helping audiences use 3D models of objects in the Met's collection for their own creative purposes. There are three main chapters in my booklet—Scanning, Modeling, and Printing—as well as some examples of how to create a new art project inspired by reproduction art, an idea I got from John Berger's Ways of Seeing.

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Digital Underground

Met + Parsons Museum Accessibility Collaboration Workshop

Don Undeen, Senior Manager of MediaLab, Digital Department; and Rebecca McGinnis, Senior Museum Educator, Access and Community Programs

Posted: Monday, July 21, 2014

What expectations do people with disabilities have when they visit museums? How are museums adapting new technologies to better serve our visitors, whatever their abilities and interests? How can the Met take a leadership role in introducing standards for inclusivity to the next generation of museum technologists? These are some of the questions we asked ourselves when embarking on the Met + Parsons Museum Accessibility Collaboration Workshop.

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Digital Underground

Media Lab Intern Spotlight: Yuliya Parshina-Kottas's Accessible Wayfinding

Don Undeen, Senior Manager of MediaLab, Digital Department; and Yuliya Parshina-Kottas, Former Media Lab Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Yuliya Parshina-Kottas is a recent graduate of the ITP program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. After a decade of working as an animator and designer for children's television, advertising, and multimedia museum exhibits, she is venturing bravely into the world of user experience, interaction design, and creative coding. I am thrilled to have Yuliya introduce her recent Media Lab project, Accessible Wayfinding, here on Digital Underground.

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Digital Underground

Digital Art Copyism: Making Your Own Super Mario Clouds

Jonathan Dahan, Former Media Technology Developer, Digital Media

Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2014

In my last Digital Underground post, I discussed artist Cory Arcangel's Super Mario Clouds (2002), a digital artwork that stripped the original Super Mario Bros. video game of everything but the background and clouds. If your interest in digital-art copyism was piqued by that, then you should also know that there are many routes one can take to achieve this end result. Cory has already shared his process, and in this post I will outline my experience translating his image-based instructions. If all goes well, you will end up with your very own bespoke copy of Super Mario Clouds.

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Digital Underground

Table d'hote and à la carte: The Museum's Restaurants

Stephanie Post, Senior Digital Asset Specialist, Digital

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2014

The Museum's first Bulletin, published in November 1905, mentions a restaurant "located in the basement of the North side of the Main building. Meals are served à la carte, from 10 a.m.–6 p.m., and table d'hote from 12 a.m.–6.pm." (The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 1, Nov. 1905). The Museum Restaurant was located near the western end of what was then known as the Hall of Casts, accessible via a staircase leading to the basement (approximately where the current Public Cafeteria is now). By 1912 an entire renovation was planned for the restaurant, as "[it] has never been an attractive place to visitors, partly because of its location . . . but equally because of its dark, cheerless aspect, [and was] so far removed from the toilet rooms . . . [that it was] a serious drawback." (The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 10, Oct. 1912). Accordingly, these planned renovations highlighted "a rest-room for women, with a toilet-room attached, [including] wash-basins with hot and cold water, while a smoking room will be provided for men, also with lavatories" (ibid.).

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Digital Underground

The Met's Updated Image Use Policy

Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer

Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014

One of the many lessons I've learned in my first 10 months on the job at the Met is how much attention is paid to everything we do here. Having worked at Columbia Journalism School for two decades, I am familiar with the amount of interest journalists take in the activities of a major institution (especially when most alumni are journalists themselves).

Because of the Met's reputation, scale, and history, our activities get a lot of scrutiny. I wrote recently about the social media traction that we got thanks to the annual #MetGala, and the Webby Award for our Instagram account.

But nothing quite prepared me for the amount of press, blogger, and social media attention we've gotten for our recently updated image use policy.

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Digital Underground

Creative Technologist Spotlight: Ancient Play at Children's Museum of the Arts

Don Undeen, Senior Manager of MediaLab, Digital Department; and Ana Marva Fernández, Digital Artist and Educator

Posted: Thursday, June 5, 2014

Ana Marva Fernández is a Brooklyn-based Mexican-American artist whose installations include found objects, photographs, and rapid-prototype works which explore the implications of art in society as we move towards the future. Her work tends to reference the tensions found in Mexico's political landscape, intertwined with a playful use of mystical characters. A guest artist at the Met's 3D Hackathon in 2012, Ana has produced a variety of works using the Met's collection as a starting point for her vision.

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Digital Underground

Notes from Internet Week

Eileen Willis, Web Group General Manager

Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Last week I had the opportunity to attend Internet Week New York, an annual gathering of speakers and events related to technology, business, and culture. Unlike other conferences I've attended, which are more focused on the museum sector, Internet Week provides a glimpse into the world of for-profit digital media projects and advertising issues, which I found incredibly relevant to the work being done in the nonprofit world as well.

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About this Blog

The Digital Department leads the creation, production, presentation, and dissemination of multimedia content to support the viewing and understanding of the Met's collection and exhibitions, both within the galleries and online. This blog discusses a few of the activities of the department, and invites your questions and comments about the Museum's digital initiatives.