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February 03, 2009


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Nicholas Dodd

Growing up in D.C my whole life I guess you can say I was desensitized by the whole Smithsonian events. Probably because every class field trip was being to get predictable; However, now that I live in Miami, it really makes me appreciate what the Museums are doing in their efforts to get across to people. I will definitely be exploring the Smithsonian when I go back to D.C for Christmas. I would like to blog about this on my blog: http://nicholasdodd.com if that's okay. I really miss D.C.


I do fully agree with another commentor here that tThe use of technology such as a virtual tour for the general public would be most welcomed. As making a virtual tour is not that difficult to implement and could pay just dividends.


It's funny, the same thing is happening in medicine. Seeing digital MRI's and x-rays isn't the same as seeing the original. being able to move it, rotate it, hold it at a different angle. Digital facsimile's are great, but they lose context. The question is whether the value of the lost context is outweighed by the value of the convenience and speed of digital recall.


I think this will be an excellent opportunity for those who may never have the chance to actually visit the museum to get to experience a little bit of what has made the Smithsonian so great for so long. I look forward to hearing more about this.

John Walker

This is just the beginning for social media to really exploit resources like museums that are set in stone so to speak.

With the combination of social media and video technology it will sure be beneficial for users worldwide (I,m from Ireland) to be able to access such places via your sitting room so to speak.

A suggestion for virtual interaction which I have noticed now in other industries is actual 3d virtual tours. There are virtual shopping malls now created and virtual trade shows. I am yet to fully use any of these features but they look impressive and it seems to be the future.

Live streaming of course too is very popular online and many concerts that are held on the other side of the world are being streamed to cinemas to a location closer to home.

With Google and Apple TV now coming online it will be interesting to see what features they provide and how they will be utilized.



I was worried that when my wife and I recently visited the reopened museum there was a tremendous "wow" factor, but little context for the artifacts.

Raman Aurora

The Smithsonian has always intrigued me and I wish to visit it soon. Thank you for this blog.

Bryan K. Watts

It is amazing the technological advancements that we have seen in just the last 10 years. While there is no substitute for actually experiencing the Smithsonian in person, Facebook and Twitter do make it accessible to those who might not have access to it otherwise.

Chris Butryn

I agree with Bruce above. It would be wonderful to be able to peruse the text of ALL of your exhibits, online. This would be such a fantastic, fun resource. Nothing can replace seeing artifacts in person, and it may even entice more visitors to attend in order to see in person the things they have read about online.


Hi from South Africa had no idea I could visit Smithsonian online, know it well from watching "Bones" with the kids. Look forward to visiting, thanks!


One of the things I like best about digitizing museums is the fact that most museums simply have more works of art to display then they have have room to display them. Which means its a crap shoot what you get to see when you do visit a museum. Digitizing museums would change that, especially if the museum would put beside the artifact or piece of art when it was scheduled to be put out on display. This would make it very easy for people to schedule to see certain works of arts or artifacts.


Great post Matt! I love the Smithsonian Institute and the American History Museum, having first visted them as a ten year old boy with my parents. Hopefully, the SI will continue to expand its digital presence to the American public.


Thanks for your thoughts, Matt. I think in large institutions like Smithsonian where people stay for years, there is considerably more caution when it comes to embracing new ways of doing things! excellent project!

John Ward

Well done for making me aware that the Smithsonian was now available to the world.

It's easy to see that you are wholeheartedly committed to developing your collections to best serve the community. Keep up the great work.


Great article. Digitizing info is definitely the way to go to preserve our knowledge for the future generations, and also to make it available to a wider audience. I have always wanted to go to the SI but I'm pretty sure I'll never get a chance, so this is great!

Thousand Oaks

I know what you mean about artifacts having power. I visited Pompei and the artifacts there were extremely powerful. I have tried to explain it to people, but I know they don't get it. I think they would if they actually viewed them.


I think it's a great idea make the Smithsonian's exhibits accessible in as many ways as possible. Most people will never travel to the physical location to the museum, but would really appreciate seeing the exhibits.

Thom Noble

Long Live the Smithsonian. I remember when i was in air and space museum and the enjoyment i had from seeing and touching asteroids and trying the flight sim... just awesome, now i do think visiting the smithsonian via facebook would rock^^

belajar di rumah

Hello Matthew, nice post that you have about the Smithsonian’s digital presence, I think, given the sophisticated technology will be a positive value in future, hopefully useful tool for people's lives ...


That's awesome. Trust the US to lead the charge with blending old and new.

Great initiative!

Dennis Marshall

That what you said about true artifacts never being replaced by digital facsimiles is true in every since of the word. Every thing is getting the 2.0 makeover these days but we can not forget our roots.


The Smithsonian is one of my absolute favorite museums in the world! Our last visit we gave ourselves a week to explore all the different buildings - but it STILL wasn't enough time. We had a blast though! I love that they are beginning to explore their digital presence for the future! It should make things so much more interesting!

Daniel Stoica

Totally agree that "authentic artifacts have a power that will never fully be replaced by their digital facsimiles."

In lieu of visiting and seeing the authentic artifacts, their digital facsimiles serve as wonderful conversation and educational material.

Thank You!


Matt,I Agree, The use of technology such as a virtual tour for the general public would be awesome. The Smithsonian is just the greatest!!! Keep up the good work.


I Agree, The use of technology such as a virtual tour for the general public would be awesome. I am in the Real Estate business and can tell you making a virtual tour is not that hard but the pay offs are great.

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