Art of Nation: a new model for online exhibitions at the Australian War Memorial

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Anthea Gunn, Australian War Memorial, Australia

This presentation will demonstrate the Australian War Memorial’s first online exhibition, Art of Nation: Australia’s official art and photography of the First World War. The exhibition is an innovative, engaging approach to presenting a collection within the context of the institution’s and international history. Using WebGL, Art of Nation combines 3D design and collection mapping to present the original vision for the Australian War Memorial by its founder, Charles Bean. The paintings and photographs on display are linked to Google maps which allow users to explore where the official war artists and photographers worked during the war, showcasing the works they created in the field. 
Google Street View allows these places to be explored today, encouraging active engagement with the art works by comparing the places then and now. It seeks to make military history more accessible to a general audience by engaging users through the art and photography collection. As an exhibition in 3D space it creates a narrative context for the collection that can then be explored further via the mapping interface. With more than 600 collection items, it allows the complexity of the official collections to be appreciated in the context of their creation. 
We created this project in partnership with Ortelia Interactive Spaces.