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.”To experience The Peale in Second Life and learn more about how to access the virtual museum, visit SecondLife.com.
ABOUT THE PEALE
The Peale Center for Baltimore History and Architecture is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit corporation established to restore the historic Peale Museum building as a center to celebrate the unique history of Baltimore, its people, and places. By creating a more inclusive cultural record of the city, we aim to help people everywhere see Baltimore in a new light. For more about the Peale, visit its website.
ABOUT LINDEN RESEARCH, INC.
Linden Research, Inc. dba 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.