Explore Smithsonian American Art Museum Exhibition, Now Live in Virtual Reality

Intel, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Sansar Partnership Enables Anyone, Anywhere to Virtually Experience Iconic Museum Collections, Research, and Education Resources

San Francisco
July 23, 2018

The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) exhibition, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, is now available in virtual reality through Sansar, the premier destination for social VR. Powered by Intel technology, this recently announced partnership will make iconic artwork more accessible and interactive through virtual reality.

In embarking on this partnership, SAAM is doing its part to help achieve the Smithsonian’s ambitious goal: expand the reach of the Institution’s collections to a billion people, in just five years’ time. This means making its museums’ objects available to the public across a wider range of mediums, including immersive domains like virtual reality - Sansar’s specialty, and a major area for Intel innovation.

“Intel empowers the creator to take their work to the next level,” said Raj Puran, director of immersive technology business development at Intel. “Technology has the potential to achieve new goals and ambitions for museums and galleries. Immersive technologies, like virtual reality, unlock new and exciting ways to experience art and exhibitions. Fans can now check out the No Spectators collection from their own home. Without Intel’s high-performance processors, these experiences would not be possible.”

Thanks to Intel’s advanced data-processing technology and Sansar’s social VR platform, the Smithsonian has been able to accelerate the digital 3D capture, preservation, and distribution of artifacts in its collections, so that students, educators, and the broader public can virtually access and engage with the museum’s collections from anywhere in the world. It’s an entirely new kind of viewing experience, and one sure to transform every aspect of the museum business, from the creation to the consumption of educational content.

“I don’t fear technology usurping the importance of art and museums,” says Stephanie Stebich, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “I think technology can make museums and their collections even more inclusive, approachable, and dynamic.”

“With Sansar, we hope not only to make the museum experience more accessible, but to also empower people to curate experiences of their own and share their unique perspectives with the world,” says Jason Gholston, Head of Sansar Studios. “We’re thrilled to be supporting this transformation of art and education, and we’re excited to find forward-thinking partners in Intel and the Smithsonian.”

The first release in this partnership with the Smithsonian features the large-scale artworks assembled for the exhibition, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, on view for a limited time at SAAM’s Renwick Gallery. No Spectators captures the spirit of creativity and community, and has been digitized through hours of careful laser scanning and photogrammetry. Starting today, anyone with a link to the Sansar experience will be able to virtually view, access, and interact with the collection in its entirety, as if they were standing in the galleries themselves.

“This is an innovative new way to access educational content from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and to preserve art for future generations,” concludes Jason. “We’re democratizing the museum experience one exhibition at a time.”

Experience “No Spectators” today.

About Linden Lab
Linden Lab develops platforms that empower people to create, share, and benefit from virtual experiences. Founded in 1999, the company first launched Second Life, the groundbreaking virtual world enjoyed by millions around the globe, in 2003, which has since gone on to boast nearly two billion user creations and a vibrant $500 million (USD) economy. The company further expanded its portfolio in 2013 with Blocksworld, a lighthearted build-and-play system, and in 2017 with the public beta of Sansar, a free platform making social VR more accessible and immersive, available on Windows PCs and compatible with HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. For more about Linden Lab, its products, and career opportunities, visit its website.