The Google Cultural Institute was established in 2010 with a simple mission – to ‘help preserve and promote culture online’. In pursuit of this mission, they have already launched the successful Google Art Project, as well as supporting cultural institutions in digitizing their collections and sharing them online.
Today, the Google Cultural Institute has announced the launch of an exciting new platform, designed to provide cultural institutions with the tools to bring their collections to a truly global audience. We had the opportunity of interviewing the Institute’s Director, Steve Crossan, about the announcement and Google’s plans for the future.
The new Google Cultural Institute platform looks really exciting – what is it and what does it do?
We’re announcing 42 online exhibits which tell the stories behind major events in the 20th and 21st centuries including The Holocaust, Apartheid and D-Day. We’ve worked with 17 different institutions around the world including the IWM (Imperial War Museums), the Steve Biko Foundation and Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum to bring online millions of artefacts including pictures, videos and manuscripts.
Your mission is to ‘help preserve and promote culture online’. What do you think is the special appeal of cultural content for online audiences?
For us culture is about story – the shared stories of our collective memories, and the objects that represent our heritage. We’ve already found massive interest in the Google Art Project and the World Wonders project; this project is about allowing a lot of partners to host and serve their content in an engaging way – and more importantly to easily create beautiful digital exhibits that bring that material to life. We also want to allow partners to use our services to drive similarly engaging experiences on their own domain, as we did with archives.nelsonmandela.org.
For cultural organisations reading this, how can they get involved in the work you are doing?
We have an online form to register interest, and our aim is to progressively open up the platform to more and more partners:
Looking ahead, how do you see the platform developing from here?
More launches will be following rapidly on this one, and we’re headed very much in the direction of free tools that any cultural institution can use to engage with audiences around the world.
The Collections Trust is committed to working in partnership with the Google Cultural Institute and cultural heritage institutions to open up their collections for discovery, use, enjoyment and learning online. We will bring you further news about the Google Cultural Institute platform as it develops. In the meantime, use the comments below to have your say and share your views about this exciting development!