VCUarts Virtual Anderson: Promoting Greater Accessibility, Student Engagement, and Preserving the Archive in the Gallery during COVID-19 and Beyond


Friday, April 23, 2021: 2:00pm - 3:30pm - - Paper Session

Tracy Hamilton, Virginia Commonwealth University, United States

Published paper: VCUarts Virtual Anderson: Promoting Greater Access, Student Engagement, and Preserving the Archive in the Gallery during COVID-19 and Beyond

In the spring of 2020, in direct response to the immediate needs created by COVID-19, Virginia Commonwealth University’s art gallery, The Anderson, collaborated on the construction of a fully navigable 3D model of the original gallery space. Produced in well-documented, open-source, and freely available software, the Virtual Anderson leverages graphics and game development software to create rich new art viewing experiences that extend far beyond simply substituting a virtual exhibition space for a physical location. Current and future programming – the spring 2020 BFA Senior Show, the fall 2020 SECAC Conference exhibition, and a revisioning of the 1996 Yoko Ono show FLY originally held at what was then called the Anderson Gallery – become curatorial and pedagogical archival material while the digital platform ensures the dissemination of events and ability to output public programming far more widely and with great inclusivity to the highly diverse populations of VCU, the city of Richmond, and the larger world.

Virtual Anderson Bibliography and Weblinks to Relevant Material

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Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. 1958. tr. M. Jolas, Penguin Books, 2014.

Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. 1981. tr. Shiela Glaser, University of Michigan Press, 1995.

Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Translated by Harry Zohn from the original German Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit (1935). Hannah Arendt (ed) (Schocken/Random House, 1969).

Carpentier, Nico. "Defining Participation: An Interdisciplinary Overview." In Media and Participation: A Site of Ideological-democratic Struggle. Bristol; Chicago: Intellect (2011): 13-136.

Carrozzino, M. and Bergamasco, M. “Beyond Virtual Museums.”

Carson, Cary. “The End of History Museums: What’s Plan B?” The Public Historian 30, no. 4 (2008): 9-27.

Chang, EunJung. "Interactive Experiences and Contextual Learning in Museums." Studies in Art Education 47, no. 2 (2006): 170-186.

Ciecko, Brandon. “4 Ways Museums Can Successfully Leverage Digital Content and Channels during Coronavirus (COVID-19).” American Alliance of Museums, March 25, 2020.

Coates, Charlotte. How Museums are using Augmented Reality - MuseumNext (April 26, 2020)

Dawson, Aimee. “Augmented reality: the artists and museums pushing the limits of technology through Instagram.” Art Newspaper (March 11th, 2020).

Ding, Mandy Augmented Reality in Museums. (Arts Management and Technology Laboratory, Carnegie Mellon Institute, May 2017)

Drucker, Johanna, David Kim, Iman Salehia and Anthony Bushong. “Virtual Space and Modelling 3-D Representations.” In Introduction to Digital Humanities: Concepts, Methods, and Tutorials for Students and Instructors (UCLA, 2014), pp. 69-71.

Drucker, Johanna, Anne Helmreich, Matthew Lincoln and Francesca Rose. “Digital art history: the American scene.” Perspective [online] 2 (2015), put online the 7th December 2015, consulted the 17th June 2020. URL:; DOI:

Drucker, Johanna and Claire Bishop. “A Conversation on Digital Art History.” In Gold, Matthew and Laura Klein (eds). Debates in the Digital Humanities 2019, ch. 27.

Emery, Kate Meyers. "Creative, Authentic and United: Digital Engagement During COVID-19." Museum 2.0, April 21, 2020.

Falk, John H. “Museum Audiences: A Visitor-Centered Perspective.” Loisir et Société/Leisure and Society 39, no. 3 (2016) 357-370.

Falk, John H. "Viewing Art Museum Visitors Through the Lens of Identity." Visual Arts Research 34, no. 2 (2008): 25-34.

Foucault, Michel. “Of Other Spaces.” Diacritics, tr. Jay Miskowiec, vol. 16, no. 1, Spring 1986, pp. 22–27.

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New Rev. 20th-Anniversary ed. New York: Continuum, 1993.

Goggin, Joyce. “Neuromancer and the Question of Architectural Space.” Creative Forum, vol. 20, no. 1-2, 2011, pp. 27-43.

Gokcigdem, Elif M. “Five Ways Museums Can Increase Empathy in the World.” Greater Good Magazine, University of California at Berkeley, January 9, 2017.

Gold, Matthew and Laura Klein. Debates in the Digital Humanities 2019. Here is the project’s homepage. There are many relevant readings in the various editions of this publication.

Google Arts and Culture. “10 Top Museums You Can Explore, Right Here, Right Now.” Google Arts and Culture. Accessed March 31, 2020.

Hazan, Susan. “The Virtual Aura - Is There Space for Enchantment in a Technological World?” Museums and the Web Conference (2001).

Hein, George E. “The Constructivist Museum.” in Reinventing the Museum: The Evolving Conversation on the Paradigm Shift. Gail, Anderson e.d. 2nd ed. Lanham, Md.: AltaMira Press (2012): 123-129.

Huskinson, Lucy. “Pathologizing the City: Archetypal Psychology and the Built Environment.” The Urban Uncanny, Routledge, 2016, pp. 107–22.

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Kotecki, Emily. 'Immersive' with Brilliant Idea Studio's Seema Rao (a podcast)

Kunjir, Ajinkya Rajendrakumar and Krutika Ravindra Patil (eds). Virtual and Augmented Reality in Education, Art, and Museums (Hershey, PA: IPI Global, 2019). Multiple relevant chapters

Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. 1974. tr. Donald Nicholson-Smith, Wiley-Blackwell, 1991.

Mariapina Trunfio & Salvatore Campana. “A visitors’ experience model for mixed reality in the museum,” Current Issues in Tourism 23 no 9 (2020), 1053-1058, DOI: 10.1080/13683500.2019.1586847

Mariapina Trunfio, Salvatore Campana, Adele Magnelli. “The Impact of Mixed Reality on Visitors’ Experience in Museum. ‘The Ara As It Was’ Project in Rome.” In Timothy Jung, M. Claudia tom Dieck, Philipp A. Rauschnabel (eds). Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality: Changing Realities in a Dynamic World (Heidelburg: Springer, 2020), pp. 313-322.

Marty, Paul F. "My Lost Museum: User Expectations and Motivations for Creating Personal Digital Collections on Museum Websites." Library and Information Science Research 33, no. 3 (2011): 211-19.

Mayo, Peter. "Museums as Sites of Critical Pedagogical Practice." Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies 35, no. 2 (2013): 144-53.

Mazzocchi, Phyllis. “The Wandering Architecture of City and Psyche.” The Urban Uncanny, Routledge, 2016, pp. 123–37.

McIntosh, Keith. “The Social Construction of Virtual Space.” The Michigan Sociological Review. Vol. 22, Fall 2008, pp. 196-214.

McLean, Kathleen. “Whose Questions, Whose Conversations?” in Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User Generated World. Bill Adair, Benjamin Filene, and Laura Koloski, eds. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press Inc., 2011, 70-79.

Miranda Huereca, Rafael. “The Age of The Diamond Age: Cognitive Simulations, Hive Wetwares and Socialized Cyberspaces as the Gist of Postcyberpunk.” Atlantis: Revista de la Asociación Española de Estudios Ingleses y Norteamericanos, vol. 32, no. 1, 2010, pp.141–154.

MuseumNext - Defining the Future of Museums

Museum Think Tank: Cultural Organizations as Incubators for Social Impact from Cuseum

Museums and the Web and their GLAMies and Best of the Web. The current and past programs.

Nash, Douglas. “Introduction: Anti-Foundational Landscapes and Postmodern Space.” The Politics of Space: Architecture, Painting and Theater in Postmodern Germany, vol. 107, Peter Lang, 1996, pp. 1–40.

Papadimitriou, Fivos. “A Geography of ‘Notopia’.” City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action, vol. 10, no. 3, 2006, pp.317-326.

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Parry, Ross. Museums in a Digital Age. Leicester Readers in Museum Studies. London; New York: Routledge, 2010.

Powell, Jennifer Kite “Augmented Reality And Kinect Create Unique Art Experience At Cleveland Museum,” Forbes (October 27, 2016) .

Simon, Nina. The Participatory Museum. Santa Cruz: Museum 2.0, 2010.

Simon, Nina. “Participatory Design and the Future of Museums.” in Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User Generated World. Bill Adair, Benjamin Filene, and Laura Koloski, eds. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press Inc., 2011, 18-33.

Simon, Nina. “Opening up the Museum.” Presented at TedX Santa Cruz. September 15th, 2012.

Smith, Linda B. and Larissa K. Samuelson. “Objects in Space and Mind: From Reaching to Words.” The Spatial Foundations of Language and Cognition, Oxford UP, 2010, pp. 208–34.

Styliani, S. et. al. “Virtual Museums, a Survey, and Some Issues for Consideration.”

Tennent, Paul, Sarah Martindale, Steve Benford, Dimitrios Darzentas, Pat Brundell, and Mat Collishaw. “Thresholds: Embedding Virtual Reality in the Museum.” Journal on Computing and Cultural Heritage 13 no 2, Article 12 (May 2020), 35 pages.

Tomas, David. “Old Rituals for New Space: Rites de Passage and William Gibson’s Cultural Model of Cyberspace.” Cyberspace: First Steps. The MIT Press, 1991, pp. 31-48.
Tom Dieck, Mandy, D. Tom Dieck and , T. Jung “Exploring usability and gratifications for virtual reality applications at festivals.” Event Management (2019).

Tsybulskaya, Dina, and Jeff Camhi. “Accessing and Incorporating Visitors’ Entrance Narratives in Guided Museum Tours.” Curator 52, no. 1 (2009): 81-100.

Wang, Wenting, Jinghui Cheng, and Jin L.C. Guo. “Usability of Virtual Reality Application Through the Lens of the User Community: A Case Study.” CHI’19 Extended Abstracts, May 4–9, 2019, Glasgow, Scotland UK: 1-6.

Weil, Stephen E. “From Being About Something to Being For Somebody: The Ongoing Transformation of the American Museum.” in Reinventing the Museum: The Evolving Conversation on the Paradigm Shift. Gail, Anderson e.d. 2nd ed. Lanham, Md.: AltaMira Press (2012): 170-190.

Zhongyuan, Zhang, et al. “Hyper-Organizational Space in the Work of J. G. Ballard.” Organization, vol. 15, no. 6, 2008, pp. 889–910.

Sample of Augmented and Virtual Reality Projects:

• Allahyari, Morehshin. Material Speculation: ISIS (2015-2016)
• ArtSteps
• Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights
• Bradbury Art Museum, senior show, Department of Art + Design at Arkansas State University
• Chenoweth, Ellen. Augmented Reality critique of the George W. Bush Presidential Center
• Curatescape
• Esri’s StoryMap
• Shepard Fairey DAMAGED experienced in Virtual Reality by VR’t Ventures
• Fingas, Jon. “Vive Arts helps creators produce and share work in VR.” Engadget 11.08.17
• The Getty Museum’s Legacy of Ancient Palmyra. Look at these SketchFab models of destroyed monuments in Palmyra but also read this cautionary note by Sarah Bond.
• Judah, Hettie. “World Museums Join Forces to Combat Destruction of Antiquities in the Age of Digital Reproductions” (December 13, 2017)
• KnightLab’s StoryMaps and Timeline, Northwestern University
• Mapping Gothic France
• Kerry James Marshall’s Mastry Exhibition experienced in Virtual Reality by VR’t Ventures (Scroll down to see his material)
• Occupy White Walls on Steam
• Omeka
• Sites Eternels : toute l'expo | RMN Google Arts and Culture Sites Éternels
• Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, California College of the Arts, San Francisco’s current show, The Word for World is Forest