Panorama of the Sanctuary at Cathedral of Saint Paul, Worcester, Massachusetts

The Cathedral of Saint Paul of Worcester, Massachusetts is a new addition to my Sacred Spaces of New England project. Founded in 1869, the Cathedral of Saint Paul has served as the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester since 1950, when the Diocese was established in the city.

If you would like to learn more about the church, please visit the Cathedral of Saint Paul’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

Panorama of the Sanctuary at First Unitarian Church, Worcester, Massachusetts

First Unitarian Church of Worcester, Massachusetts is a new addition to my Sacred Spaces of New England project. Gathered in 1785, the First Unitarian Church was formed by a group of 54 “free thinkers” who left Worcester-based First Parish Church under the leadership of their pastor, Dr. Aaron Bancroft, in a quest to celebrate freedom of belief and religious expression that would help define Unitarian doctrine in the United States.

If you would like to learn more about the church, please visit the First Unitarian Church’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

Panorama of the Sanctuary at Church of the Redeemer UCC, New Haven, Connecticut

Church of the Redeemer UCC of New Haven, Connecticut is a new addition to my Sacred Spaces of New England project. Organized in 1838, Church of the Redeemer, United Church of Christ is the fourth congregational church in New Haven. Originally named Chapel Street Congregational Church, it was formed after there was dissent at the Third Congregational Church when a new minister would not accept the “New Haven Theology” of Nathaniel Taylor who founded the church. Taylor rejected the idea of determinism in which God alone was responsible for all activities in the universe, as he felt this was immoral because it contradicted the notions of freedom and choice, and thought God not immoral.

If you would like to learn more about the church, please visit the Church of the Redeemer’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

New Cardboard App Release: Jazeera Al Hamra VR

JAH_Feature_Graphic_Web

Please check out my new Google Cardboard app entitled, Jazeera Al Hamra VR for Android mobile devices.

It is a free Google Cardboard app of the architecture of Al Jazeera Al Hamra, a former coastal village in southern Ras Al Khaimah that was abandoned at the time of the formation of the United Arab Emirates in the late 1960s and 1970s. It is considered one of the last traditional towns in the country.

Featured in version 1.0 of the Jazeera Al Hamra VR app are 360-degree VR (virtual reality) panoramic images that were captured between 2009 and 2011 of the hisn (fort) and three courtyard homes.

For those who are new to Google Cardboard, it is a virtual reality platform that uses a relatively low-cost cardboard or plastic viewer in conjunction with a mobile phone device to create an immersive experience.

This app works with Google Cardboard and most Android mobile phone devices. Here’s the link to the app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=info.seththompson.JazeeraAlHamraVR.

Panorama of the Sanctuary at Saint John the Baptist Church, Brunswick, Maine

Saint John the Baptist Church of Brunswick, Maine is a new addition to my Sacred Spaces of New England project. Founded in 1877, Saint John the Baptist Church was created to serve the French Canadian population in Brunswick and the surrounding area.

If you would like to learn more about the church, please visit the Saint John the Baptist Church’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

Panorama of the Sanctuary at Trinity Lutheran Church, Worcester, Massachusetts

Trinity Lutheran Church of Worcester, Massachusetts is a new addition to my Sacred Spaces of New England project. Formed in 1948, Trinity Lutheran Church is the result of the merger of three nearby parishes: First Evangelical Lutheran Church (1881), Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church (1900) and Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church (1921). Designed by architect and World War I pilot Jens Frederick Larson, Trinity’s structure is inspired by both New England’s traditional architecture and Scandinavian church design, as many of the founding parishioners were of Swedish descent.

If you would like to learn more about the church, please visit the Trinity Lutheran Church’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

Panorama of the Sanctuary at St. Mary’s Assumption Albanian Orthodox Church, Worcester, Massachusetts

St. Mary’s Assumption Albanian Orthodox Church of Worcester, Massachusetts is a new addition to my Sacred Spaces of New England project. Throughout the gold-painted sanctuary are illuminated icon paintings by Worcester-based iconographer Dhimitri Cika.

If you would like to learn more about the church, please visit the St. Mary’s Assumption Albanian Orthodox Church’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

Panorama of the Sanctuary at First Parish Church in Brunswick, Maine

First Parish Church in Brunswick, Maine is a new addition to my Sacred Spaces of New England project. Founded in 1717, First Parish Church’s current structure, completed in 1846 and designed by architect Richard Upjohn, is a radical departure from the traditional congregational church design that preceded it. The Gothic Revival design sparked a major shift from “puritan simplicity” that would spread across the country.

If you would like to learn more about the church, please visit the First Parish Church’s entry on the Sacred Spaces of New England website.

Digital humanities and the virtual museum

On November 16th, The New York Times published an article by Patricia Cohen entitled, “Digital Keys for Unlocking the Humanities’ Riches,” in which she writes, “Members of a new generation of digitally savvy humanists argue it is time to stop looking for inspiration in the next political or philosophical “ism” and start exploring how technology is changing our understanding of the liberal arts. This latest frontier is about method, they say, using powerful technologies and vast stores of digitized materials that previous humanities scholars did not have.”

The “digital humanities” is not only the new frontier for academics and researchers but also for museum professionals and designers who seek to push the boundaries with digital technologies to create online exhibitions and construct virtual museums.

As museum professionals and researchers grapple with how they may document, collect and disseminate intangible cultural heritage, which the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage defined to include: “ (a) oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage; (b) performing arts; (c) social practices, rituals and festive events; (d) knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; (e) traditional craftsmanship,” a reexamination of how heritage and cultural artifacts are cataloged, represented and interpreted within a museum context needs to be carefully considered and a virtual environment may be the most appropriate place to disseminate them.

By using digital technologies to document and create records of a museum’s intangible and tangible cultural heritage assets as well as related contextual information, a museum can create a database system and interface to sift and sort through its digital assets to create meaning and understanding in ways that would have been very difficult to achieve earlier. Nevertheless the following questions need to be considered: 1.) Does a new or revised cataloging system need to be employed? 2.) How can a tagging system be better developed and defined to benefit museum staff, researchers, teachers and lifelong learners?

Originally posted on November 20, 2010

Collaborative institutional efforts makes for beautiful panoramas

 

Snapshot of the Sistine Chapel Panorama

Snapshot of the Sistine Chapel Panorama

 

Villanova University faculty and students from the school’s communication and computer science departments collaborated with the Vatican to make important architectural heritage sites more accessible to the online community.

This virtual reality tour project, which features stunning 360-degree panoramas of the Sistine Chapel, Basilica of St. Peter, Pauline Chapel, Basilica of Saint Paul, Basilica of Saint John Lateran, and Saint Mary Major is part of an internship program that Villanova University established with the Vatican in 2003.

“The artwork present in places of worship aims to immerse the visitor in a sacred reality and the Sistine Chapel is preeminent in this tradition,” said Frank Klassner, an Associate Professor in Villanova’s Computing Sciences Department and a leader on the project. “Our team is grateful to have played a small part in maintaining this tradition using the power of the Internet and modern immersive technology.”

The project, which was completed in 2010, is an excellent example of how a university and cultural institution can work together to create innovative solutions that address the needs and abilities of its partnering organizations.

For more information, read:
http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/media/pressreleases/2010/0806.html

http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/media/pressreleases/2010/0319.html

Originally posted on September 3, 2011