Thursday, July 7, 2022

Norfolk Art Museum Makes Exhibit More Accessible

An augmented reality sculpture viewed through a smart phone. (Barry Art Museum Press Release)

NORFOLK — The Barry Art Museum at Old Dominion University has made its exhibits more accessible during the pandemic.

One of the all too familiar stories brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic is that it forced entire industries to either cease operations or completely rework how they do business day in and day out. Restaurants moved to an all takeout and delivery model. Professional and college sports teams played in massive stadiums, made all the more cavernous by the lack of fans. While most industries were caught off guard by the new safety protocols, educational institutions like the Barry Art Museum, 1075 W 43rd St. in Norfolk at Old Dominion University, had been unintentionally preparing for the crisis long before the pandemic hit.

In an effort to expand its audience beyond school groups and art supporters, the Barry Art Museum launched a series of interactive 3D models of selected works from their collection.

“The 3D models were a natural fit for our continued strategy of engaging the public through digital programming,” said interim museum director, Charlotte Potter Kasic. “This augmented reality project allows anyone, from anywhere, to explore the collection with the click of a button.”

Through a process called “photogrammetry,” project designers processed a string of images of each sculpture and were able to digitally recreate them with an astonishing degree of clarity.

By scanning a QR code with a smart phone at selected sites around Norfolk, the public will not only be able to view the sculpture in a different setting, but they will also be able to read about the piece and its artist. Some of the sites for the models include the Elizabeth River Trail, Norfolk Botanical Garden and the ODU campus.

Click here for more information on the Barry Art Museum or to preview the augmented reality collection. The preview works best with a smart phone.

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