for this project was a series of 37 photographs of the Cone
sisters' apartments from the 1930s. These photos have interested
scholars by recording how the Cone sisters lived with, curated,
and displayed their remarkable collection.
photographs became the prime resource and motivation for reconstructing
the apartments, but more information was required to depict
the apartments photo-realistically.
The apartment building was still in existence, but all evidence
of how the original apartments were laid out was gone because
of major renovations in the 1970s. Ultimately, blueprints from
1910 of the original building were located and these along with
measurements of the building's exteriors provided a floor plan.
Living relatives of the Cone sisters who had visited the apartments
were interviewed and this provided
more information. Fortunately for the project, the Cone sisters
bequeathed to the museum most of their possessions along with
the artwork and this provided the ability to measure each piece
of furniture as well as photograph it for texture maps.
Management of all this data (paintings, sculptures, rooms, windows,
curtains, rugs, furniture) so that staff and students could
efficiently access it became a major effort of the project.
Ultimately, a web-based mapping system was established that
located all items in a room (as determined from the photographs).
This system also provided a means of assuring items were correctly
located and cataloged. The map also provided a means for locating
and accessing all the original photographs from their original
point of views.
The bulk of the work was modeling the apartments and the furniture.
In all, more than 500 objects were accurately modeled and textured
in addition to the architecture and neighborhood. The database
provided modelers with measurements, reference photos, and texture
maps. Each room was then arranged with all the objects and checked
for accuracy by The Baltimore Museum of Art curators and project
Upon completion of modeling, rooms were exported to the real-time
interactive animation authoring program, Virtools, which provided
a robust rendering engine that could handle the size and scope
of the project. This program also provided the means for interface
design, interaction with objects, camera movement, navigation,
and support of sound and text. Evaluation and beta testing of
the first version of the project
was done on-site at The Baltimore Museum of Art using museum
visitors. The piece has worked successfully at the Museum for
over a year and has proven to be a highlight of a visitor's