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Google Cultural Institute lets people around the world visit Cincinnati Museum Center

CINCINNATI – You can now tour parts of Cincinnati Museum Center in your pajamas from the comfort of your own home (though we have no problem if you want to walk through the actual museums in your pajamas either). Google Cultural Institute is bringing the popular Google Street View feature of Google Maps indoors, giving visitors around the world a chance to walk through Cincinnati Museum Center. Additionally, some items from Museum Center’s fine art collection is available to view through the Google Art Project.

Google Cultural InstituteUsing the Street View feature, online visitors can drag and drop “themselves” into various points in Cincinnati Museum Center, getting a 360 degree view of that space. Virtual visitors can walk through the massive Rotunda of Union Terminal and see the beautiful mosaics that adorn the walls. They can then venture into both the Museum of Natural History & Science and Cincinnati History Museum or walk downstairs into the Duke Energy Children’s Museum. Street View has also mapped features of Museum Center many guests rarely see in person, including the cork walls and floors of the historic Union Terminal President’s Office and historic dining rooms.
While there is something to be said for seeing artifacts and artwork in person, that’s not always an option for some people.

“Nothing beats seeing the enormity of the Rotunda in person, but this building was built for travelers and in the 21st century that includes those traveling electronically,” says Douglass McDonald, president & CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center.

McDonald also believes the Google Cultural Institute gives Cincinnati Museum Center an opportunity to share the knowledge and work of their experts and the history of the region with people around the world.
“We know not everyone around the world can make it to Cincinnati to see all Cincinnati Museum Center has to offer and that’s why the Google Cultural Institute is so valuable,” says McDonald. “Our collections here have such wonderful stories to tell and we want to make sure people halfway around the globe can be a part of those stories, too.”

Museum Center is also showing off pieces of its fine art collection through the Google Art Project. Over 65 works of art are included in the Art Project, including one which was photographed in extraordinary detail using super high resolution “gigapixel” photo capturing technology. An image of A View of Cincinnati from Forest Hills, Kentucky, painted in 1855, contains nearly 7 billion pixels and is compatible with a custom built zoom viewer, enabling the viewer to study details of the brushwork and paint beyond that possible with the naked eye, bringing to life minute aspects they may never have seen up close before. Artwork from John J. Audubon, Emanuel Leutze, John Caspar Wild and Frank Duveneck, all pieces from Museum Center collections, are on display through the Art Project.

The Street View feature and Art Project are part of the Google Cultural Institute which is dedicated to creating technology that helps the cultural community to bring their art, archives, heritage sites and other material online. The aim is to increase the range and volume of material from the cultural world that is available for people to explore online and in doing so, expand access to it and preserve it for future generations.

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