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THE TECH MUSEUM OF INNOVATION ANNOUNCES THE OPENING OF THE TECH VIRTUAL TEST ZONE GALLERY

Press Release Date 
Tuesday, 3 June, 2008
The Tech Museum of Innovation (The Tech), one of the nation\'s premiere science and technology museums, today announced the opening of The Tech Virtual Test Zone, a new area in the museum showcasing the world\'s first hands-on, interactive exhibits conceptualized and developed originally in the virtual world of Second Life®. These new exhibits are the result of The Tech\'s virtual exhibit design initiative and competition called The Tech Virtual, which was announced in December 2007 and aims to revolutionize the way new museum exhibitions are developed. The Tech Virtual Test Zone is a prototype exhibit area that will consistently feature virtual-world-to-real-world exhibits on a specific theme resulting from The Tech Virtual program. The first theme featured in the Test Zone is "Art, Film & Music", which is also the theme of a new permanent gallery that The Tech plans to launch by 2010. The Tech\'s use of Second Life\'s platform to build, test and launch new exhibition content serves as a model and a hands-on opportunity for other museums interested in experimenting with new methods for creating content. In the first phase of The Tech Virtual initiative, a total of 49 exhibits were created in the virtual gallery; of those, seven participants have seen their designs come to fruition in the physical museum. Hosted over a four month period, the first Tech Virtual exhibit design initiative welcomed participants from more than 100 countries. "The Tech has engaged an international community of creative people - vincluding experts in art, film, music, and technology from all over the world-who are attracted to the open source, Web 2.0 revolutions that have fueled a participatory, collaborative culture. Through The Tech Virtual, we\'ve been able to bring these experts together to create exhibits that are imaginative, educational, and utterly unique," said Peter Friess, president of The Tech. "We are breaking down the barriers of the traditional exhibit design process and entering into a new era of innovative content creation utilizing technology tools and ideas that have grown out of Silicon Valley. The Tech Virtual Test Zone is validation that applying the open source concept to museum content development can create some amazing and wonderful outcomes." As part of the criteria to be selected for The Tech Virtual Test Zone, exhibits had to be interactive, educational and engaging for mixed audiences and have a connection to the Art, Film and Music theme as well as demonstrate the spirit of Silicon Valley. The seven exhibits on display include:
  • Wikisonic, by Jon Brouchoud of Madison, Wis.
  • Musical Chairs, by Leanne Garvie of Toronto, Canada
  • MIDI, by Nick Chen of San Francisco, Calif.
  • Polar Projections, by Richard Milewski of San Jose, Calif.
  • Mashup Masterpiece, by Marie Crandell of Plymouth, England
  • Tilty Table, by Jason Nelson of Gold Coast, Australia
  • Connecting Point, by Alan Hook of Manchester, England
"I was delighted to be invited to recreate Mashup Masterpiece and see it showcased on the floor of The Tech," said Marie Crandall, one of seven individuals chosen to exhibit in the Test Zone. "I want to thank The Tech Museum and recognize the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley for making this day possible. This project is proof that technology allows people around the world to do things they didn\'t think was possible like participate in the development of museum content." The new Art, Film & Music exhibits in The Tech Virtual Test Zone will be available for several months and The Tech is encouraging visitors to provide feedback on the exhibits. The Tech will combine visitor feedback and California Curriculum Standards to fine-tune exhibits so that they both engage the visitor and reinforce fundamentals in science and math education. Ultimately, the goal for exhibits chosen for The Tech Virtual Test Zone is to begin life in the virtual world and end up as museum exhibits that are educational and fun for museum visitors of all ages. The Tech plans to continue to use the Second Life platform and its Tech Virtual program as a way to develop new museum content that maps to other planned galleries on topics such as the spirit of Silicon Valley, biotechnology, the environment and health. On May 6, The Tech announced UCanTu, the latest exhibit creation initiative within The Tech Virtual. The initiative is based on the international humanitarian awards program, The Tech Awards: Technology Benefitting Humanity. More details are available at: http://thetechvirtual.org/projects/ucantu/. The Tech Virtual can be found at The Tech island in Second Life (slurl: http://tinyurl.com/3x7bf7). The Tech\'s virtual exhibition creation initiative in Second Life is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. About The Tech Museum of Innovation The Tech Museum of Innovation is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. Located in San Jose, California &mdash the Capital of Silicon Valley &mdash its mission, as a public-benefit corporation, is to inspire the innovator in everyone. Through hands-on exhibits, educational programs, the annual Tech Challenge team competition for youth, and the internationally recognized Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials, Inc., The Tech Museum of Innovation honors the past, celebrates the present, and encourages the development of innovative ideas for a more promising future. For more information about The Tech Museum of Innovation, visit www.thetech.org. CONTACTS: Lisa Croel The Tech Museum of Innovation (408) 795-6219 lcroel@thetech.org Analisa Schelle Ogilvy PR (415) 677-2721 analisa.schelle@ogilvypr.com