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Contact: Andrea DeKoter, 8042265023
Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site is one of 36 National Parks featured in the Google Cultural Institute, a digital platform which makes hundreds of historically and culturally significant objects available online. Contributors to the site include the Palace of Versailles, UNESCO World Heritage Convention, and the Museo del Greco. Other featured National Parks include Grand Teton National Park, Gettysburg National Military Park, and Dinosaur National Monument. The partnership comes as the National Park Service celebrates its Centennial anniversary this year.
The Google Cultural Institute uses technologies similar to Google's Street View - providing 360-degree views on Google Maps of locations around the world - to photograph and virtually map important artifacts, photos, records and works of art to share important material with global audiences and digitally preserve them for future generations.
Virtual tours of Maggie L. Walker's home, along with images of artifacts from her collection, can be viewed on a National Park Service "channel" that highlights over 3,800 works of art, artifacts and records, as well as a Centennial Virtual Exhibit, which features a significant museum object from over 350 national park sites. The highly detailed photography allows web users to navigate through the Walker home and get behind the scenes, zooming in on artifacts or architectural features that catch their eye. An annotated virtual tour option offers details and interpretation for selected museum pieces.
Also featured on the site is St. Luke Hall, where Walker ran her African American fraternal order, the Independent Order of St. Luke, an organization dedicated ot advancing social and financial opportunities for African Americans. The site is a significant part of Walker's story but is not part of the national historic site. Through the Google Cultural Institute, web users can now view contemporary street perspectives with historic photos and objects, essentially bringing Walker's bygone office back to life.
"The National Park Service is proud to partner with Google to make important symbols of our shared national heritage accessible to more Americans than ever," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "Visitors to the National Park Service collection in the Google Cultural Institute will have the unique opportunity to see rare Native American artifacts, browse inspiring works of art that convey our nation's history and natural beauty, and virtually walk through the homes of great American thinkers, like Frederick Douglass and Thomas Edison."
"These online galleries and exhibits hold limitless possibilities for long-distance learning, foreign language applications, and for people with impaired mobility who may otherwise not be able to take a standard house tour," said Ethan Bullard, Museum Curator for the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site and Richmond National Battlefield Park.
On August 25, 2016, the NPS will celebrate 100 years of protecting, preserving and sharing the nation's national parks. For the lats 100 years, operating under the U.S. Department of the Interior, the NPS's mission has expanded to help communities across the United States to revitalize their communities, preserve local history, celebrate local heritage, and create close-to-home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun. For more information on the NPS's Centennial effort, visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/index.htm.