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VCU Archaeology

Virtual Curation Exhibit and Museum Opens

by Bernard K. Means, Director

Some of the exhibit panels and the exhibit case at the James Branch Cabell Library.

Some of the exhibit panels and the exhibit case at the James Branch Cabell Library.

Yesterday, October 21, my hard-working team and I held an exhibit opening at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)’s James Branch Cabell Library in Richmond, Virginia. The exhibit opening was co-sponsored by the VCU Libraries, the VCU School of World Studies, the Virtual Curation Laboratory, and the VCU student-run Virtual Archaeology Scanning Team (VAST). John Glover, Humanities Librarian–and an individual key to making the exhibit happen–spoke first at the opening, talking about the VCU Libraries own digital efforts and our partnership between the VCU Libraries and the Virtual Curation Laboratory.

John Glover opens are exhibit opening.

John Glover opens our exhibit opening.

Mark Wood, director of the VCU School of World Studies spoke next, and talked about the role the Virtual Curation Laboratory has played in student engagement.  This was particularly apt, as the exhibit celebrates undergraduate research, and many of the key players in the exhibit will be presenting papers on their own research this Friday at the Archaeological Society of Virginia annual meeting in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Words from Mark Wood.

Words from Mark Wood.

I followed Mark with a few remarks about how energizing I find it to work with these great VCU undergraduate anthropology students. And, how their research and efforts not only benefit them with real analytical experience, but also helps preserve the past and make it more accessible to a broader audience located across the globe.

Bernard K. Means madly gestures!

Bernard K. Means madly gestures!

Ashley McCuistion, president of VAST, and a VCU undergraduate student. closed out the opening remarks.  She’s been a leader in helping engage a wide variety of audiences, and not just among the VCU student body, but also at public archaeology events and a local high school.

Ashley McCuistion explains how 3D scanning has opened VAST horizons for VCU students.

Ashley McCuistion explains how 3D scanning has opened VAST horizons for VCU students.

Digital models, plastic replicas, and part of the exhibit were on display for the 60 or so people who came to the opening.  The food was great, courtesy of the VCU Libraries, the atmosphere was casual, and we had a drawing for two chocolate hominin skulls (Homo erectus, if you are interested).

Mariana Zechini selects a raffle ticket from a cauldron held by Lauren Volkers.

Mariana Zechini selects a raffle ticket from a cauldron held by Lauren Volkers.

The exhibit is designed to be portable and will be located throughout the James Branch Cabell Library.  There is also a virtual extension of the exhibit in the new Virtual Curation Museum. QR codes on the physical exhibit lead you to more information about each panel, and animated digital models of each object on display.  The Virtual Curation Museum is under construction and will be expanded in the coming months to include more content and digital animations. The physical exhibit is open until December 2, 2013, but the Virtual Curation Museum is intended to be open indefinitely.

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