I just got the news that the Tech Museum of Innovation, aka "The Tech", a science and technology museum based in San Jose, California, has launched The Tech in Second Life. Big deal, you say, lots of real world institutions — from Reuters to Rockefeller Center to the city of Dublin — have created replicas of themselves in-world. But what’s really astounding about the virtual museum is what’s NOT there — the whole place is intentionally empty.
The virtual museum has purposely not been populated with virtual simulcra of their real world exhibits, as other galleries and museums have done. The Tech is doing in fact the opposite: they are challenging people to come up with their own virtual exhibits which will be reviewed by an expert panel and then created in-world. The very best exhibits will be replicated in the real world museum in San Jose, with US$5,000 going to the best entry!
Peter Friess, President of The Tech Museum, commented in the press release
The Tech is using Second Life as an open source platform for content development, tapping into creative talent worldwide. I am looking forward to seeing the ideas and contributions that exhibition builders, craftspeople, and museum curators create during the course of this challenge.
The broad theme of the proposed exhibits is “Art, Film, and Music” with the winning entries announced in June 2008 at 01SJ Global Festival of Art on the Edge. To enhance the open collaborative nature of the work, all of the
content in the virtual exhibits is to be made available under a Creative Commons license.
It is an audacious effort with a number of questions to be answered. Will non-SL curators and artists be drawn into Second Life to create these exhibits? Will a virtual exhibit translate into a compelling real world one? What sorts of scientific content is best imparted in a virtual environment?
General meetings, Q&A sessions, “Learn to Build” and “Learn to Script” sessions will be offered by The Tech on a regular basis for those who are new to SL.
It’s important to note that The Tech joins a number of other science and technology-focused builds in Second Life, including the amazing Spaceflight Museum, NOAA’s Meteroa island (click here to teleport), the Abyss Museum of Ocean Science (teleport) and the much celebrate Svarga eco-system (teleport.)
To check out the museum, head to The Tech sim (teleport.)
Note that the Tech Virtual project was developed by the firm Involve, Inc.