Inside the National Museum of Brazil

Por dentro do Museu Nacional” is a Google Arts & Culture project that makes it possible to revisit the collection of the National Museum of Brazil before its fire of 2018.

A virtual guided tour presents 360° views of the main galleries of the Museum:

This room displays the oldest skeleton discovered in the Americas, popularly known as Luzia.

In other sections of the website you can explore geological and archeological works such as meteorites and pottery pieces:

Meteorite Bendego: the largest Brazilian meteorite and one of the largest in the world.
Vaso globular Marajoara: cerâmica brasileira de 3000 anos

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video recordings of Information Plus Conference

Information Plus is a biennial conference on interdisciplinary practices in information design and visualization. The last edition took place in Potsdam Germany from 19 to 21 October.

Organizers have just updated the website with video recordings of the first conference day and photo documentation of the workshops, exhibition and dialog dinner. The remaining videos will follow over the next weeks.

Presentations I watched so far:

Digital technologies to preserve and disseminate Brazilian cultural collections

The fire that destroyed the National Museum in Rio in September this year sparked the alert for the state of conservation of the Brazilian collections and has motivated initiatives from different sectors of civil society. Tomorrow (September, 27), a group of researchers, curators, and educators will meet to discuss how digital technologies can help preserve, disseminate and popularize national cultural collections.

Coordinator of the Vision and Computer Graphics Laboratory of IMPA (Visgraf-IMPA), and one of the guests of the “I Panorama in Digital Technologies for Museums” (“I Panorama em Tecnologias Digitais para Museus“), Luiz Velho knows the theme well. For over two decades, Visgraf has developed projects related to different processes of safeguarding, researching and disseminating museum collections.

At the round table “State of the art of technological solutions, reflections on experiences implemented”, Velho will present part of the work done by Visgraf. One of them is the 3D Museum, a modeling and visualization project, which resulted in the creation of a website and a CD with the virtual exhibition of a collection of clay sculptures, part of the collection of the Folklore Museum of Rio.

Velho will also present projects created for the Astronomy Museum (MAST) and the Antônio Carlos Jobim Institute. Recently, Visgraf partnered with the Moreira Salles Institute (IMS) to research and develop applications regarding IMS’s photographic cultural heritage.

The event will be held at the auditorium of the FGV headquarters (Praia de Botafogo, 190), from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Registration is free and can be done here

Updated (28 November)

Slides of the presentation Media Technologies in the New Museum

Participants of the round table “State of the art of technological solutions, reflections on experiences implemented”
Luiz Velho talk
Velho presents IMPA and IMS project aiming IMS’s photographic collections.

Digital technologies for museums

The School of Applied Mathematics (EMAp) and the School of Social Sciences (CPDOC) from  Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) will organize and host the First Panorama in Digital Technologies for Museums (I Panorama em Tecnologias Digitais para Museus) on November 27, 2018.

The objective of this Panorama is to present the demands of the museological sector, as well as reflections on previous experiences. Given the scenario of the recent disaster of the National Museum of UFRJ, it is necessary a reaction of all the actors involved in the theme: managers, researchers, educators and other sectors of society.

The event will discuss the strengthening of a knowledge network around the use of digital technologies in the museum context. Likewise, it is necessary to consider impacts related to the diffusion of the collections of these museums, understanding that the society’s engagement with the issue, as well as the development of a close relationship between population and museums, is one of the ways of preserving, collecting and maintaining investments in these institutions.

Representatives of diverse institutions will participate as speakers in this event. Among them, my Ph.D. co-advisor and coordinator of the Visgraf Laboratory, Luiz Velho.

Collection and Digital Libraries Guide

The “Collection and Digital Libraries Guide” (Guia de Bibliotecas Digitais e Acervos Online, Portuguese only), published by the State Government of São Paulo, Brazil, lists 76 collections and digital libraries with free contents, including images, for consulting and download on different topics. The indicated collections are maintained by important national and international institutions, constituting a wide repository of cultural collections that can contribute to the development of research and motivate the sharing of knowledge in various areas through the internet.

 

Crotos: a project on visual artworks powered by Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons

Crotos is a search and display engine for visual artworks based on Wikidata and using Wikimedia Commons files.

The Wikidata extraction contains more than 133 866 artworks (September 2018) including 66 271 with HD image. This extraction is regularly automatically updated from Wikidata on the basis of the nature of the items and corresponds to visual artworks such as paintings, photographs, prints, illuminated manuscripts and much more.

The interface

Searches can be made by free or indexed search through a user interface. Results are displayed by chronological order with thumbnails. Links on thumbnails open a viewer with the image hosted on Wikimedia Commons.

It is possible to filter the results by type (painting, sculpture, print…) or to specify a period as a criterion.

By default, without criteria, a random selection is displayed. Besides with the Cosmos interface, it is possible to discover the artworks by indexation (par type d’œuvre, creator, movement, genre, collection…).

Descriptors

For each resulting image, the interface displays the title, the creator(s)  and the collection or the location where the artwork is maintained. These information are on Wikidata, a free, collaborative, multilingual, secondary database, collecting structured data to provide support for Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, the other wikis of the Wikimedia movement, and to anyone in the world.

Additional descriptors are date or period, nature of work, material used, inventory number, movement, genre, depicts, main subject, and so on. A full list of descriptors is mentioned here.

Contribution mode

The project has a contribution mode, useful for identifying missing information with facets. Finally, source is on github and the database of Crotos can be downloaded. Both are under Free Licence.

Sound heritage

Conserve the sound is an online museum for vanishing and endangered sounds. The sound of a dial telephone, a walkman, an analog typewriter, a pay phone, a 56k modem, a nuclear power plant or even a cell phone keypad are partially already gone or are about to disappear from our daily life.

Conserve the sound is a project form CHUNDERKSEN and is funded
by the Film & Medienstiftung NRW, Germany.

A tragedy foretold: Brazil’s national museum hit by huge fire

On the evening of September 2, 2018, a massive fire broke out at the National Museum of Brazil at Quinta da Boa Vista, Rio de Janeiro, destroying almost all of the historical collection spanning over two hundred years, which included over twenty million items in its catalog. In addition to this rich collection, the building itself was the former residence of the Emperor of Brazil. It was extremely damaged, experiencing cracks, the collapse of its roof, and failures of the internal slabs.

Wikimedia Commons initiative is helping to recover part of the historical collection

One of the most immediate challenges is to recover and preserve images of the museum building and its collection, as our visual memory of these items is now our main asset. Anyone who has visited the museum and taken photographs of the buildings and its objects or someone who knows another person who has taken photographs can help: create an account at the Wikimedia Commons and upload the relevant photos.

Visit the Wikipedia page of the National Museum of Brazil project for more information.

Wikipedia page of the National Museum of Brazil project

 

IMS Photography Research Grant

In order to stimulate the research of the history of Brazilian photography and the works of its collection, Instituto Moreira Salles, holder of one of the most relevant photographic collections in Brazil, is promoting the first edition of the IMS Photography Research Grant. An unprecedented project will be selected based on the production of Marc Ferrez (1843-1923), one of the most important Brazilian photographers of the 19th century, whose work has been under the custody of IMS since 1998.

Entries are from July 16 to August 31, 2018, and the final result will be announced in October.

Grant announcement, application form and additional information here (Portuguese only)

A visual catalog of material culture of Amsterdam

“Urban histories can be told in a thousand ways. The archaeological research project of the North/South metro line lends the River Amstel a voice in the historical portrayal of Amsterdam. The Amstel was once the vital artery, the central axis, of the city. Along the banks of the Amstel, at its mouth in the IJ, a small trading port originated about 800 years ago. At Damrak and Rokin in the city center, archaeologists had a chance to physically access the riverbed, thanks to the excavations for the massive infrastructure project of the North/South metro line between 2003 and 2012”.

Bellow the surface website presents the scope and methods of this research project, detailing the data processing and of approximately 700,000 finds. The website provides access to the photographs of more than 19,000 finds. The access to the complete dataset hasn’t been released yet, but a disclaimer note informs it will be shortly available.

In the main user interface (the object overview page), thumbnails of all 18.978 objects are arranged by estimated time of creation (period varies from 2005 AC to 119.000 BC). Users can scroll vertically along time with a mouse. A panel of facets filters the objects according to time range, object function (communication & exchange, personal artifacts & clothing, etc.), material (metal, synthetics, etc.) and location (Damrak or Rokin metro stations). The time range facet has an interesting feature: it is also a visual variable that shows patterns of distribution at a glance. The other facets indicate the objects occurrence through absolute numbers. Facets don’t require a preceding search and enable refinement (selecting an option of a facet changes the options occurrence in the other facets.

The main user interface

Selecting a thumbnail of an object reveals detailed information about it (close viewing). A bigger photography t is shown followed by detailed information about the object properties.

Close view of a selected object
Scrolling the page down reveals detailed information about the object

This research was conducted by the Department of Archaeology, Monuments and Archaeology (MenA), City of Amsterdam, in cooperation with the Chief Technology Office (CTO), City of Amsterdam.