Friday, August 14, 2020

Baltimore's Peale Museum Opening Virtual Wing in Second Life

Linden Lab has just announced that a real-life museum is opening a "virtual extension" in Second Life. This is the Peale Center in Baltimore, the oldest museum in the country.

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The Peale in Baltimore, which is housed in the first purpose-built museum building in the United States, has extended its reach into the virtual world known as Second Life. While the current pandemic may prevent many people from visiting the Peale in person, this ambitious new project allows virtual visitors to explore the 1814 museum building online and attend curated exhibits and interactive events safely from the comfort of their homes.

“It has been thrilling to develop this new experience of the country’s oldest museum building in Second Life,” says Dr. Nancy Proctor, Executive Director of the Peale. “Thanks to the amazing work of Linden Lab and Virtual Ability, Inc., we are now able to welcome a huge new community to the Peale, and share its rich history as well as the authentic stories and creativity of Baltimore with the largest and oldest virtual world on the Internet.”

Current highlights of the virtual museum include the 3D interactive Peale Museum building and the virtual world exhibition, “Redefine/ABLE: Challenging Inaccessibility.” Exhibits and events will change regularly, and include playful and surprising elements inspired by the Peale’s and Baltimore’s history and stories – like a virtual mastodon, recalling the mastodons famously excavated in 1801 and exhibited by the Peale family in their museums in Philadelphia and Baltimore!

“This has been an excellent partnership opportunity for us,” says Virtual Ability, Inc. President Alice Krueger. “The staff of the Peale are strongly committed to accessibility, as you can see by their choice of a first exhibition in Second Life. Virtual Ability is happy to assist them to create an accessible experience in their virtual museum.”

The museum was developed in partnership with Linden Lab, maker of Second Life, who developed extensive interior spaces for a 3D model of the Peale Museum building that was originally created by the Imaging Research Center at UMBC for its online map of Baltimore ca. 1815. Over time the interior of the virtual Peale Museum building will grow to include more galleries, both extant in the physical world and inspired by the Peale’s programming and partners, making the Peale in Second Life a creative hybrid of the “real” and the imaginary. The Internet’s largest virtual world has recently experienced a resurgence in popularity as more people seek out safe and fun social interactions online during the pandemic.

“We are pleased to see The Peale bring an extension of its museum and exhibits to Second Life,” says Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg. “The virtual world is the perfect home for museums that are seeking a way to extend their reach to a global audience.”

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The museum will also be the focus of Strawberry Linden's "Lab Gab" today at 11 AM SL time, viewable on Youtube.  Strawberry will interview Nancy Proctor (NancyEProctor Resident) of the Peale Center and Eme Capalini of Virtual Ability.

The Peale Museum in Second Life will officially open tomorrow, Saturday August 15 at 8 AM SL time.

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