Capturing culture the Google way

Image from NPR.orgThe desire and need to preserve artifacts has predated our existence. Man has communicated by telling stories, through saving bits and pieces of history, by communicating through pictures or memories. Some call it nostalgia, others call it living in hyper-reality. Museums, arts and culture have always played a vital role in societies. In many ways they define and shape the personality of civilizations and give meaning to our existence. They represent our past and present and point towards our future.

In the current digital age one can access museum collections online, take virtual tours, look at archives and search for almost anything and everything. Now Guggenheim, MoMa, Louvre, MFA etc. are just a click away. Online advertising and publicity has helped many museums attract visitors and generate revenue. Where famous museums get their share of active publicity and advertising both online and in the real world, we rarely hear about museums like “The National Museum of Iraq” in Baghdad.

Such museums lose their identity unless someone steps forward to preserve the past. The Iraqi Museum represents the rich, vibrant culture of Iraq. A place that documents it’s history and showcases artifacts from the various civilizations that lived there. One would imagine that such a place would gather a great many visitors but sadly that is not the case. CNN officials state that the museum “houses some of ancient Mesopotamia’s rarest artifacts, but what is even harder to find at Iraq’s National Museum are visitors. ”

Google and the U.S. government have teamed up with the museum to work towards showing the world the historic collections present at the museum. Google is said to have taken 14,000 photographs of the artifacts to document the various collections. Yahoo News reports that, “The museum holds artifacts from the Stone Age through the Babylonian, Assyrian and Islamic periods.” Google chief Eric Schimdt visited the National Museum of Iraq today.

Google plans to create a ‘virtual museum’ and showcase these images to the world. The Associated Press states that, “The museum was ransacked in the chaotic aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s ouster in April 2003, and only reopened to visitors early this year. Schmidt, who toured the museum with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill on Tuesday, said it was important for the world to see Iraq’s rich heritage and contribution to world culture.” Schmidt in an address to the Iraqi officials stated that “The history of the beginning of — literally — civilization is made right here and is preserved here in this museum…I can think of no better use of our time and our resources than to make the images and ideas from your civilization, from the very beginnings of time, available to billions of people worldwide,” (- The Associated Press).

This seems to be the first of many more positive developments yet to happen in Iraq. By early next year we will be able to witness the rich Iraqi culture online. This step taken by Google holds strategic importance and will help create a positive footprint for Iraq in the future. It’s amazing to see how digital media transforms the world around us and helps us all stay in tune with the Global economy.

View more news in the following video on Yahoo:

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=16807215&ch=4226714&src=news

Image 1 from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120739539

Image 2 from http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/11/24/iraq.virtual.museum/

 

This article is also published on the Amvona blog at http://www.amvona.com/blog/capturing-culture-the-google-way.html?blogger=sun

Image from NPR.orgThe desire and need to preserve artifacts has predated our existence. Man has communicated by telling stories, through saving bits and pieces of history, by communicating through pictures or memories. Some call it nostalgia, others call it living in hyper-reality. Museums, arts and culture have always played a vital role in societies. In many ways they define and shape the personality of civilizations and give meaning to our existence. They represent our past and present and point towards our future.

In the current digital age one can access museum collections online, take virtual tours, look at archives and search for almost anything and everything. Now Guggenheim, MoMa, Louvre, MFA etc. are just a click away. Online advertising and publicity has helped many museums attract visitors and generate revenue. Where famous museums get their share of active publicity and advertising both online and in the real world, we rarely hear about museums like “The National Museum of Iraq” in Baghdad.

Such museums lose their identity unless someone steps forward to preserve the past. The Iraqi Museum represents the rich, vibrant culture of Iraq. A place that documents it’s history and showcases artifacts from the various civilizations that lived there. One would imagine that such a place would gather a great many visitors but sadly that is not the case. CNN officials state that the museum “houses some of ancient Mesopotamia’s rarest artifacts, but what is even harder to find at Iraq’s National Museum are visitors. ”

Google and the U.S. government have teamed up with the museum to work towards showing the world the historic collections present at the museum. Google is said to have taken 14,000 photographs of the artifacts to document the various collections. Yahoo News reports that, “The museum holds artifacts from the Stone Age through the Babylonian, Assyrian and Islamic periods.” Google chief Eric Schimdt visited the National Museum of Iraq today.

Google plans to create a ‘virtual museum’ and showcase these images to the world. The Associated Press states that, “The museum was ransacked in the chaotic aftermath of Saddam Hussein’s ouster in April 2003, and only reopened to visitors early this year. Schmidt, who toured the museum with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill on Tuesday, said it was important for the world to see Iraq’s rich heritage and contribution to world culture.” Schmidt in an address to the Iraqi officials stated that “The history of the beginning of — literally — civilization is made right here and is preserved here in this museum…I can think of no better use of our time and our resources than to make the images and ideas from your civilization, from the very beginnings of time, available to billions of people worldwide,” (- The Associated Press).

This seems to be the first of many more positive developments yet to happen in Iraq. By early next year we will be able to witness the rich Iraqi culture online. This step taken by Google holds strategic importance and will help create a positive footprint for Iraq in the future. It’s amazing to see how digital media transforms the world around us and helps us all stay in tune with the Global economy.

View more news in the following video on Yahoo:

http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=16807215&ch=4226714&src=news

Image 1 from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120739539

Image 2 from http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/11/24/iraq.virtual.museum/

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