Google Uploads The White House

By April 4, 2012

The Google Art Project incorporates collections around the world

The White House has partnered with Google to make available panoramic interior shots and high quality photographs of art pieces inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as part of the Google Art Project, which uses Street View-like technology to share the interiors of museum galleries.

First lady Michelle Obama framed the project, which incorporates 139 works from the White House collection, in populist as well as educational terms.

“The White House isn’t simply a home to First Families or meeting space for world leaders, it’s also known as ‘The People’s House,’ a place that should be open to everyone,” she said, in a video highlighting the project. “And that’s why we’ve made it a priority to invite young people, military families, and Americans of all ages to join us here at the White House.”

The White House, which is also open for in-person tours, houses an art collection including works by Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe, and James Whistler.

“Thousands of people have walked these halls and gazed at the artwork,” Obama said. “They’ve examined the portraits of Washington, Lincoln, and Kennedy. They’ve imagined the history that’s unfolded here. And now you can do all of that without leaving your home. So go ahead, look around, enjoy the history and the beauty of these rooms. Because after all, this is your house, too.”

The Google Art Project, which was launched in February 2011, includes panoramic and piece-by-piece photography from 17 international museums, including Château de Chantilly, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Acropolis Museum. Google recently announced plans to expand the project with 29 new partnerships in 16 cities.

“The Art Project is part of our efforts to bringing culture online and making it accessible the widest possible audience,” wrote Google spokesperson Amit Sood. “Under the auspices of the Google Cultural Institute, we’re presenting high-resolution images of the Dead Sea Scrolls, digitizing the archives of famous figures such as Nelson Mandela, and creating 3D models of 18th century French cities.”

Google made another foray into high culture recently, when it partnered with Historypin to promote a worldwide collection of audiovisual overlays commemorating the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. It has also uploaded material to Street View from exotic, difficult-to-access locations including Antarctica and villages in the Amazon river basin.

Images: The White House, Google, Anders L. Zorn