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The Getty Museum - Augmented Reality

Page history last edited by ebirgeo1 11 years, 6 months ago

Project Title: Augmented Reality with the Augsburgs Display Cabinet  

Museum/ Institution: The J. Paul Getty Museum 

Program Created: May 17, 2010

Program URL (if available):  http://www.getty.edu/news/press/center/augsburg_cabinet.html


Project Image(s) and/or Video


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Media Source(s)/Credit(s):


YouTube Video (gettymuseum) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UGkFU-ahFo&feature=related 

Image (AR Marker) - http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/north_pavilion/cabinet_ar_marker.pdf 

Image (Display Cabinet) - http://www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/north_pavilion/cabinet/index.html


Program Description: (150-250 words)


Many museums, like The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA, are implementing augmented reality into their collections.  The Getty Museum has applied augmented reality to some of its objects such as the Augsburg Display Cabinet (see above).  The augmented reality (AR) of this particular object, also referred to as the "cabinet of curiosities", was sponsored internally by the Museum and grew out of the design and development of another project. According to Maria, from the Getty's Collection Information & Access department, the foundation and material used for this AR experience grew from an in-depth, 3D gallery interactive of the Augsburg Display Cabinet.  AR works, in this case, by printing a copy of the specific augmented reality marker, holding it up to a computer's webcam, and allowing it to transform into a simulated, 3D object.


The Augsburg Display Cabinet is a complex object and AR technology allows the viewer to gain unprecedented access to the object.  The AR feature enables the viewer to experience and interact with a 3D simulation of the cabinet that tilts, spins, and moves as the viewer wishes.  It gives the viewer a complete, 360 degree view of the object, allowing him or her to see it from another angle or perspective that is not ordinarily available. Utilizing AR is another way the visitor can interact and engage with objects in the Museum collection.


Firsthand or secondary review/critique: (150-250 words)


Augmented reality has primarily been used for advertising and promotional purposes, however, its use in a museum setting can be effective and beneficial for the Museum as well as the visitor.  This is one of the first objects in which the Getty Museum has applied the use of AR.  Using AR on the Augsburg Display Cabinet was effective due to the complexity of the object.  Every side of the cabinet has a panel (or covering) that, when opened, exposes another face which consists of precious inlays, architectural motifs, and the ancient art of intarsia (embedding ornamental wood and other organic material into a surface to create a decorative pattern). AR allows visitors to rotate the cabinet and zoom in and out to see, from various perspectives, the different elements that make up the intricate object. 


I think that utilizing AR for an object like this is important because it gives visitors an easy way  to interact with the object in a very hands-on way.  Also, the fact that AR simulates a 3D object allows the visitor to engage in a real way (one that would usually be limited to a museum staff of curators, registrars, conservators, etc) and to personally experience the object.  Like in this case, I believe that AR works well for complex objects and ones that can not be fully viewed.  AR permits the viewer to examine and explore the intricacies of an object, in detail and depth, without actually being in a museum or touching the object.  


Technologies incorporated:

augmented reality, 3D object overlay, live video feed, webcam


Internally or externally produced:

Internally by the Museum's Collection Information & Access department


Entry Contributor and Date: 

Emma Birge-Osborne, March 22, 2011


Related projects:  

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