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THE TECH MUSEUM OF INNOVATION ANNOUNCES UCanTu: A VIRTUAL EXHIBIT CREATION INITIATIVE HIGHLIGHTING TECHNOLOGY BENEFITING HUMANITY

Press Release Date 
Wednesday, 7 May, 2008
The Tech Museum of Innovation (The Tech), one of the nation's premier science and technology museums, today announced "UCanTu," the next phase of The Tech Virtual (http://thetechvirtual.org/projects/ucantu/). Following on the success of The Tech's "Art, Film & Music" virtual exhibit design contest in Second Life, UCanTu is a virtual exhibit design initiative based on the international humanitarian awards program, The Tech Museum Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity. The Tech is inviting Tech Virtual participants to choose one of the existing award-winning projects from past Tech Museum Awards seasons, and to develop a virtual exhibit that showcases these technologies in an interactive, educational way. The new virtual exhibits will fall into the five categories of Tech Awards projects, which are health, education, environment, economic development and equality. Designers are being invited to create memorable experiences for visitors based on real devices, artifacts and technologies that have been developed by Tech Museum Awards Laureates and used around the world. The best of these designs will be featured in the "real lifev Tech Museum Awards gallery at The Tech scheduled to open in January 2009. The Tech Museum Awards are one of the premiere annual humanitarian awards programs in the world, recognizing and supporting solutions that benefit humanity and address some of the most critical issues facing the planet and its people. Each year, the program recognizes 25 innovators (Laureates) worldwide whose solutions demonstrate their commitment to solving global challenges. The five universal categories of work - education, equality, environment, economic development and health - recognized by The Tech Museum Awards address the global challenges inspired by the United Nations' The State of the Future at the Millennium report. The 175 past Laureate projects are as diverse as the individuals who created them, chosen each year from hundreds of nominations from around the world. "The Art, Film, & Music contest in Second Life was groundbreaking for the global museum community and I look forward to seeing how The Tech Awards are interpreted by our Tech Virtual community and by the artists and curators who join this project," said Peter Friess, president of The Tech. "The UCanTu project will help innovators connect with each other, evolving our goal of collaborative exhibit design while highlighting projects whose humanitarian uses of science and technology deserve to be celebrated." The UCanTu exhibits in The Tech Virtual will be contextualized in the setting of an urban marketplace, made up of a school, a farmer's market, a bank, a health clinic, a park and a community center. All of these areas represent urban needs - education and agriculture technologies, economic development programs, medical devices, environmental innovations, and equality and social justice projects. The future Tech Awards Gallery in the real Tech Museum will also be organized around an urban marketplace setting. More details on the UcanTu exhibition and the Tech Awards projects that it highlights are available at: http://thetechvirtual.org/projects/ucantu/. Beginning immediately, The Tech is inviting participants to develop experiences in SL based on these technologies as exhibits in a virtual museum environment. The first review of exhibits takes place June 1st, with a second round review on July 1st. The final decision on which designs will be invited to exhibit in the real life museum will be made by museum staff on July 31st. The criteria for selecting UCanTu exhibit projects are:
    The exhibit should highlight one or more of the Tech Award-winning technologies, in a way that makes it meaningful and accessible
  • Project should be viable to build in real life as a museum exhibit with technology that is obvious to a visitor without supplementary explanation, facilitation or assistance from museum volunteers
  • Story has to be compelling and easily told in a few words or sound bites at most
  • Project must have global impact but if possible, also tie in to local interests and audiences
  • Project must have educational component that meets state curriculum criteria
"The Tech Museum Awards and Laureate projects remind us of all the ways in which technology and science can be applied to solving humanitarian issues," said Lee Wilkerson, executive director for the Tech Museum Awards. "It's exciting to see this program extended into the virtual world. I look forward to seeing how Tech Virtual participants use the Second Life platform and technology to create exhibits that raise awareness both of global humanitarian challenges, and the solutions that are emerging to address them." The Tech Virtual encompasses a replica of The Tech's San Jose facility in Second Life, including a creative common area where people can work together on exhibit concepts (called Parkside Exhibit Workshop: slurl http://tinyurl.com/25ert6); and a collaboration Web site called The Tech Virtual Museum Exhibit Workshop (www.thetechvirtual.org) to facilitate project design and collaboration. 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 and is open to everyone. Weekly meetings for UCanTu will be held on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. Pacific Time in The Tech Virtual in Second Life. The Tech's virtual exhibit 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 - the Capital of Silicon Valley - 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 Museum 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