Directed by Carl Loeffler, The Networked Virtual Art Museum was a pioneering project that investigated telecommunications and virtual reality, and provided a basis for multiple users located in distant geographical locations to be conjoined in the same virtual, immersion environment. The project employed telecommunication hardware, as well as the hardware associated with virtual reality: data eyephones and multi-directional navigation devices. The immersion environment was an art museum with galleries offering various exhibitions.
Considered as a whole, the project was on the advancing edge of telecommunications thru the exploration of immersion environments, networked over long distance, while supporting multiple users. The use of agents, and the articulation of physics and other details like reflective mirrors, places the project at the forefront of the design of virtual worlds. The Networked Virtual Art Museum utilized the WorldToolKit, a virtual world development software, that was available from Sense8 Corporation. The Virtual Research head mounted display, and the Ascension Technology 6-D mouse (The Bird), and 486/50 compatible with DVI and MIDI comprised the basic system hardware.
The Networked VR worlds were shown in “Virtual Egyptian Temple” at the Guggenheim Museum (1994) with support from Intel in an exhibit of artwork employing new technology and in “Virtual Pompeii” at the De Young Museum (1995/96) and was displayed on a large screen for an audience, while a trained virtual tour guide navigated through the virtual space giving explanations and answering questions as s/he went. One patron at a time saw the virtual space through a Head-Mounted Display.
The Networked Virtual Art Museum was supported by Distributed Simulations, IDG Communications Austria, the Archaeological Institute of America, and Intel Corporation.