Digital art

It’s been four years since Google opened a virtual window into some of the world’s most famous museums, allowing us to ‘visit’ places like the National Gallery in London or Milan’s Museo Poldi Pezzoli.

The barriers between the physical and the virtual have continued to shift since then. Open Culture – the blog/news site/knowledge directory whose posts last year covered massive art download initiatives from The Museum of New Zealand, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Getty Museum – provides one of the best ways of keeping up with these changes.

And still the process continues, with this month’s #MuseumWeek – the second annual event – coming up from 23 to 29 March.

Launched this week by Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo, the online celebration of museums and galleries from around the world already has over 1,000 institutions from 44 countries signed up to take part.

In the UK their ranks include the British Museum (@britishmuseum) and the Imperial War Museums (@I_W_M) as well as institutions like Halifax’s Eureka! The National Children’s Museum (@eurekamuseum) and the British Postal Museum & Archive (@postalheritage).

What will they actually do? Inevitably, participating organisations will need to include the hashtag #MuseumWeek in their tweets, which are meant to focus on a different theme everyday (behind the scenes, favourite memories, stories about their building etc).

Then to make the – usually ephemeral – tweets live on after the event, this year’s #MuseumWeek Twitter-stream will apparently be captured in a time capsule to be displayed in museums, but not opened until 2035.

More over, in collaboration with Polish data visualisation artist Marcin Ignac, the BRIGHT studio will produce a digital work of art-based tweets published using the #MuseumWeek hashtag. Available to see on, the installation will also be shown in Paris at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, and displayed on digital touch screens across the city. It will also be available for UK museums to display, completely free.

• To keep up to date with all the #MuseumWeek developments ahead of March 23, follow @MuseumWeek and @CultureThemes on Twitter. Read more at



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