Google together with the Museum of Natural Sciences and some of the most loved natural history institutions in the world, has launched a new online experience, allowing people to come face to face with fascinating specimens and browse through the most spectacular collection of natural history available in one place. Experience in one click an interactive, dynamic and immersive discovery journey in our world’s natural wonders and diversity, on the new ‘Natural History’ section in the Google Arts & Culture platform.
Opening today, this new online exhibition - available on g.co/naturalhistory - will enable online visitors to discover natural treasures from more than 50 museums from 16 countries, such as London’s butterfly collection, Berlin’s biodiversity wall, New York’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, and of course Belgian’s world-famous Iguanodons, one of the greatest dinosaur discoveries of all times.
The Museum of Natural Sciences in Brussels is opening its doors to online visitors with a complete Street View of its permanent exhibition spaces. Moreover, “A Short Guided Tour”, a selection of the museum’s nicest spots, can even be visited in virtual reality, with a Google Cardboard! This experience can be enjoyed by all on the Google Arts & Culture mobile app.
Almost 200 specimens and 4 online stories
On the platform, the museum is introducing almost 200 specimens and archive documents, as well as 5 online exhibitions created for this project: Past, Present and Future: the Marvels of Evolution, The Bernissart Iguanodons, Our 250 Years of Natural Sciences, From Sahelanthropus to Homo sapiens: what did our predecessors look like?, and A Short 360° Guided Tour.
You will find out about the museum’s finest specimens and curiosities, such as the Stone of Chaleux, the Lier Mammoth or the ‘Sea rex’ Hainosaurus bernardi. The stories are based on texts, photos, videos and Street Views and are available in French, Dutch, German and English, as well as Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian for the three first of them.
Google Expedition for schools
The Royal Belgium Institute of Natural Sciences, home to the Museum, also opens its doors to students with Google Expedition.
Google Expeditions enable teachers to bring students on virtual trips under water, outer space and to places like museums, through a Google Cardboard viewer. Google Expeditions are collections of virtual reality 360° panoramas and 3D images — annotated with details, points of interest, and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum already used in schools.
The Institute’s virtual reality trip, available to educative teams on the Google Expeditions app, takes users on a fantastic journey behind the scenes with the Royal Institute's experts.
This new online exhibition opens today at g.co/naturalhistory and is accessible to all online, for free on the web and through the new Google Arts & Culture mobile app on iOS and Android. 360 degree videos can also be watched on YouTube.
‘The dissemination of scientific knowledge and the valorisation of the collection towards society are part of the missions of our Institute. The innovative technology by Google is a new way of accomplishing that mission.’
‘The internet has become a major medium for information and culture, for some even the most predominant. The Google Arts & Culture platform should allow us to reach a new audiences. By making them discover objects that are unknown, beautiful, intriguing, terrifying, ... we could inspire them to find their way to the Museum for themselves. With more than 17.000 displayed specimens in our museum halls, there is so much to discover!’
‘To participate in this project, is also to make the Museum accessible for those who cannot reach it for various reasons. The Expedition project is in this sense interesting on two levels. It is aimed at schools, but the concept and tools that make it possible can also help people that are less mobile. This project brings the museum to the schools, and on top of that it takes the students behind the scenes to meet the experts: a world that usually stays hidden for the general public.’
‘A visit to the Museum is a unique experience, rooted in reality. However, as rapid technological advancement pushes the boundaries between the real and the virtual, new doors will open for the museum experience. Today marks the threshold of this new adventure!’
Dr Camille Pisani, Director of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences