Smithsonian Introduces the Latino Virtual Museum
The Smithsonian Latino Center, in partnership with the Virtual Immersive Technologies and Arts for Learning (VITAL) Lab at Ohio University and Linden Labs, has launched its online Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum in Second Life, an avatar-based 3-D virtual world featuring immersive learning activities. Together with the VITAL Lab and an advisory team that includes Smithsonian curators, scholars, researchers, museum educators, media artists and other specialists, the team developed the conceptual, technical and design framework for the museum.
"More than just increasing access for the many people who may not ever make a trip to Washington, D.C., the Latino Virtual Museum offers the Smithsonian Latino Center an effective outreach tool to impact what is being taught in classrooms by offering quality Latino content," said Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center. "These are stories that risk never being told and are now being offered via an engaged, global online community."
Arnold Jonas, virtual worlds and social interactive designer at the VITAL Lab, said "The VITAL Lab is excited to be partnered with the Smithsonian Institution as it furthers our belief in the value of immersive experiences for learning. The opportunity to work on such a high profile project with experts in the field demonstrates the potential of synthetic worlds to be a part of the future of interpretive museum design."
The Smithsonian Latino Center ensures Latino contributions to arts, sciences and the humanities are highlighted, understood and advanced through the development and support of public programs, scholarly research, museum collections and educational opportunities at the Smithsonian Institution and its affiliated organizations across the United States. For more information, visit www.latino.si.edu.