Title:The Virtual Leopold Fleischhacker Museum
Authors:Daniel Sacher, Michael Brocke, Margret Heitmann, Barbara Kaufhold, Wolfram Luther, Daniel Biella
Publication:MW2013: Museums and the Web 2013

The German-Jewish sculptor and artist Leopold Fleischhacker (1882-1946) created busts, medallions, insignias, monuments, memorial tablets (Brocke, 1988) and more than 250 tombstones located in cemeteries in the German Rhine-Ruhr area (Steinheim Institute, 2011). The Steinheim-Institut and Prof. Dr. Michael Brocke are the owners of the Fleischhacker estate, which includes more than 300 annotated photographs and personal letters, comprising work between 1908 and 1938. The majority of Fleischhacker’s artworks were destroyed or are scattered in private collections and are no longer accessible. Thus, the Steinheim-Institut decided to develop a virtual museum depicting the life and work of Leopold Fleischhacker. The web-based museum is a combination of indoor and outdoor areas to gather and share the pictorial material and 3D reconstructions of still extant tombstones in thematically oriented exhibitions. The exhibited material provides an insight into Fleischhacker’s private life and an overview of his artworks and artistic styles. The museum hosts approximately 200 pictorial exhibits; 3D assets and information tableaus; 29 reconstructed tombstones; and one greatly enlarged reconstruction of a signet, which serves as eye-catcher in the entrance hall of the virtual museum. Art history contexts, exhibition design, texts and room arrangements were elaborated by Dr. Barbara Kaufhold. The virtual exhibition will be thematically arranged throughout 14 exhibition rooms. The conceptual exhibition layout was drafted into ground plot sketches to indicate the spatial design and to define virtual object positions.

Our demonstration seeks to present the interdisciplinary development of the Virtual Leopold Fleischhacker Museum’s interior rooms: the digitization of Fleischhacker’s pictorial estate, metadata capturing and descriptive metadata enrichment and the automated process of transforming ground plot sketches into virtually walk able 3D exhibition rooms. Due to the large set of pictorial exhibits we utilize the advantages of metadata based modeling–automated generation of exhibition rooms and automatic distribution of exhibits for further manual postprocessing (Sacher et al., 2012)–as well as the curator software suite ViMEDEAS (Virtual Museum Exhibition Designer using an Enhanced ARCO Standard), which has already been described in (Biella and Luther, 2009), (Biella et al., 2010b), (Biella et al., 2010a) and (Biella et al., 2012). ViMEDEAS is designed for museum curators and content creators and for (3D) software developers, as well as for visitors, researchers and educators alike. ViMEDEAS includes authoring tools, frameworks, an XML-based metadata set to describe virtual museums and seeks to support the entire design process of virtual museums: planning, creation, archiving, dissemination and presentation. The metadata set ViMCOX (Virtual Museum and Cultural Object Exchange Format) (Wolf et al., 2012), which is included in ViMEDEAS, describes virtual museums containing classical, contemporary or born-digital art. ViMCOX was developed to support the hierarchical description of virtual museums and provides stylistic devices for sophisticated and vivid exhibition design, which cannot be achieved using classic museums standards. ViMCOX supports interactive exhibition content, assets, outdoor areas and spatial exhibition design including illumination concepts. The metadata set ViMCOX is based on international metadata standards and uses LIDO version 1.0 (Coburn et al., 2010) as an interchange and harvesting format for cultural objects.