My next project will be to produce a small gallery of artifacts using the Google Open Gallery tool, just released for personal use.  I hope to learn the ins and outs of the system and to take notes that would be applicable to more ambitious projects.  I plan to show the project to my Archaeology friends to see if perhaps the technology might complement some of their work, especially their public outreach programs, fundraisers and to rally communities around projects.  At first glance the new gallery tool seems to have features most curators would need to organize finds around projects, sites or themes.  The Drag-and-drop interface has a typical Google simplicity, allowing the organizer to focus on choosing the items and including the information.

Archaeologists and detectorists can add video, images of 2d and 3d items and documents.  Clearly to make the gallery look good, the quality of photography and video needs to be carefully captured as well.  I think we are seeing the future for publicizing important archaeological finds and educating the public.   I have been on a mission to improve the level of my photography during metal detecting, but will continue to improve knowing how it will be inserted into such an experiential format.  Site context is something I’ve lacked in the past (some for owner privacy) but I see it as more important in a paginated gallery.  The narrative of each gallery will depend on a bit of production-sense as to how it will be shown to the virtual gallery visitor.

Google says:

“For the past few years, we’ve worked with museums around the world to make their collections available on the Google Cultural Institute. Now, we’ve opened up the technologies behind this project so that anyone with cultural content can publish it, creating exhibitions that tell engaging stories on their own website.”

Display of 3d objects

Display of 3d objects

“Google Open Gallery helps you to create a beautiful experience for people to view your collection, at the click of a button. We’ll host your content and give you access to our technology at no cost to you or your organisation. It’s pretty simple—just upload images, add video, Street View imagery and text, interweaving your story among the images to create an exhibition that will truly engage your visitors. The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery matches archive photos with modern day Street View imagery. Berndnaut Smilde is a contemporary artist living and working in Amsterdam, famous for creating stunning clouds as part of his Nimbus series. “

Google's Collections Interface

Google’s Collections Interface

You can create an independent site using the browser-based publisher and adding it to my existing website, too.   I look forward to giving it a shot.