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After ten years of rebuilding, renovation and restoration, the Rijksmuseum ("National Museum") in the Netherlands re-opened on April 13, 2013, the last official appearance of 
Of Queen Beatrix. Never before has a national museum undergone such a complete transformation of both its building and the presentation of its collection. Seville-based Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz of Cruz y Ortiz were the project's head architects.

While there are a lot of videos on You Tube recording and reporting on this momentous event, but perhaps none captures the joy and exuberance of the event better than this one:

This blog has focused on the use of New Media technology by museums, to fulfill their mission of bring Fine Art to the public, wherever they may be. In this respect, New Media technology does not mean the use of complicated technology. Instead, it means an elegant but simple presentation, a user-friendly and intuitive interface, so that the technology is "running in the background. This means carefully planned design and technology so that the technology does not overwhelm the viewer or the art. The Rijksmusem has done this to a remarkable degree. Its website is simple and elegant, presenting the art as the main focus. Each page is headed by a magnificent high resolution image of a work of art that makes you want to stay on that page just so that you can enjoy the artwork.
 The site's page, Explore the Collection,lets you see the collection by such as "Masterpieces," "Artists," "Works of Art," Subject", "Style," and others. Remarkably, you can, right there, download a high resolution copy for free, and use that image for whatever purpose you want.
The Museum already has many works of art online as a participant in the GoogleArtProject. However, the most innovative part of the the Museum's own site is the Rijksstudio.


It is almost axiomatic that museums have heavily guarded the rights to reproduce their images. They also have had a long history of refusing to put high resolution of their images online. The Rijksmuseum, however, has taken the lead in reversing this history.
In her article, "Masterworks for One and All," in the New York Times of May 28, 2013, Nina Siegal wrote that the Rijksmuseum, "whose collection includes masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Mondrian and van Gogh, has already made images of 125,000 of its works available through Rijksstudio, an interactive section of its Web site. The staff’s goal is to add 40,000 images a year until the entire collection of one million artworks spanning eight centuries is available."

Walpaper Magazine features a video discussion of Rikjsstudio with a group of experts.


In her article, Ms. Siegal also reported that,

 Rijksstudio has logged more than 2.17 million visitors since its service went online in October, and around 200,000 people have downloaded images. As a result, the Rijksmuseum won three international “Best of the Web” awards last month in Portland, Ore., at the annual international conference known as Museums and the Web. The prizes are based on peer evaluations by museum professionals.
Rijksstudio is unusual among digital museum projects in that it provides online tools for manipulating, changing or clipping the images, said Jennifer Trant, a co-founder of Museums on the Web. The online studio asks people to refrain from commercial uses and sells images of an even higher resolution that are more suitable for that purpose.


Walpaper* features a fascinating in -depth video discussion by a group of experts of  the digital innovation think tank at Rijksstudio  and a slideshow of the Museum. Walpaper* also has a extensive  Article by Yoko Choy. Ms. Choy writes,

This idea of innovation and inspiration is key to the Rijksmuseum’s new age. In the build up to its relaunch, last November the art museum launched Rijks Studio – a groundbreaking new digital collection of 125,000 objects from the museum’s collection, accessible to all for free. And to celebrate its unveiling, the museum teamed up with Wallpaper* to host a discussion on digital innovation moderated by our own Editor-in-Chief Tony Chambers, for which we brought together a stellar panel of speakers that included the likes of Christian Borstlap; Taco Dibbits, director of the Rijksmuseum Collections; Renny Ramakers of Droog and Robert Norton, co-founder and CEO of s[edition].

And Ms. Siegal,

To inspire users, the Rijksmuseum invited the Dutch design cooperative Droog to create products based on its artworks. Its designers used part of a 17th-century flower still life by Jan Davidsz de Heem as a template for a tattoo, for example; it used a 3-D printer to create a white plastic replica of an ornate 16th-century centerpiece designed by the German silversmith Wenzel Jamnitzer and to adorn it with magnetic miniatures of items from the Rijksmuseum’s collection.

H/T Mark Dziamba


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