The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Verizon launch interactive virtual art experience

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Verizon today launched The Met Unframed, an immersive virtual art and gaming experience, with enhancements powered by Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband, that features more than a dozen one-of-a-kind digitally rendered galleries and nearly 50 works of art from across The Met’s vast collection. At a time when access to one of the world’s greatest art collections is limited, The Met Unframed brings a creatively reimagined Met experience to people wherever they are. 

TheMetUnframed.com invites online visitors to explore digital galleries and play games that unlock augmented reality (AR) versions of the art on view that can then be displayed virtually at home. The Met Unframed is accessible from any 4G or 5G smart device, and is available for free for a limited five-week run.

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Within the experience, four of the AR works of art are enhanced with activations accessible to users on Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband. These users can watch the objects come alive in AR by utilizing high-speed responsiveness and ultra low lag.

Max Hollein, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art commented, “Our mission since The Met’s founding 150 years ago has been to connect people to art and ideas, and to one another — something we’ve found to be more powerful than ever over these last months of isolation and uncertainty. The Met Unframed brings the Museum to audiences wherever they are in an innovative viewing experience, in which users can virtually visit iconic spaces and engage with The Met’s masterpieces, learn more about the works in a playful way and through AR, and enjoy bringing the art into one’s own surroundings. The Met Unframed expands the ways in which we can understand, experience, and appreciate art.”

Andrew McKechnie, Chief Creative Officer, Verizon added, “The Met Unframed enhances digital inclusivity for an audience that may have never experienced art in such a personal way. We’re utilizing the power of technology and enhancements enabled by Verizon 5G, to provide extensive access, in-depth education, and opportunities for interactivity and sharing, for beloved works of art from one of the world’s most renowned museums.”

The custom-designed digital galleries were rendered exclusively for The Met Unframed and evoke or nearly replicate spaces from across the Museum. The virtual layout creatively arranges a sampling of galleries that display art from across millennia and from around the world, allowing the Museum—and the collection—to be experienced like never before.

Visitors to The Met Unframed are first welcomed into an intricately detailed rendering of the Museum’s iconic Great Hall, where Kent Monkman’s monumental diptych mistikôsiwak: Wooden Boat People (2019) hangs, and from there banners offer broad thematic concepts—Power, Home, Nature, and Journey—that visitors can take up while exploring the galleries.

Highlights from The Met’s collection include works by the contemporary artists El Anatsui, Mark Bradford, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Sam Gilliam, and Carmen Herrera; all of The Met’s five paintings by American modernist Jacob Lawrence; and massive works like the Egyptian Wing’s magnificent Temple of Dendur (completed by 10 B.C.) in the Egyptian wing and a stunning 14th century Chinese mural depicting the Buddha of Medicine. Visitor favorites also abound, like The Unicorn Rests in a Garden (1495-1505) from The Met Cloisters’ Unicorn Tapestries; Jackson Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm (Number 30) (1950), Vincent Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Cypresses (1889), Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851), and Rembrandt van Rijn’s Self Portrait (1660); along with important works like Lee Krasner’s Rising Green (1972), Standing Bear’s The Battle of Little Bighorn (ca. 1920), and Margareta Haverman’s Vase of Flowers (1716).

The Met Unframed was designed in partnership with multidisciplinary production company Unit9, and developed using the latest in web AR and emerging mobile technology combined with The Met’s rich digital, educational, and curatorial teams providing rich content and expertise. The high-fidelity gallery and art renderings in this experience were modeled by 3D artists based on the Met’s extensive collection of images — many within its Open Access program — created by the Museum’s staff photographers and post-production team. Games in the experience—such as trivia questions, riddles, and a “Zoom and Spot” challenge—encourage close observation of the works of art and accompanying descriptions and content, while a game called “Analysis” uses The Met’s infrared and XRF conservation documentation scans of paintings to give users a glimpse of underdrawings and other hidden details of well-known Met paintings that would go unseen in an in-person visit to the Museum.