Art of the Americas Interactive

Julia McHugh, Mark Olson, Ed Triplett

The Nasher Museum of Art and the Wired Lab for Digital Art History & Visual Culture are teaming up this fall to re-imagine the exhibition of the Nasher’s collection of ancient American Art, one of the best university art museum collections of work by Maya, Aztec, and Inca cultures.

For over 25 years, this collection has sat largely untouched in museum storage. In the past year, the museum has begun studying and preparing this collection for display. Two exhibitions are currently in progress: the first, an exhibition on the relationship of ancient Americans to the ocean, featuring ceramics, textiles, and bone and wood carvings of crabs, lobsters, sting rays, sea birds, shells, and other sea creatures; and the second, a reinstallation of the Art of the Americas gallery to feature artwork from South America.

A crucial component of both of these exhibitions is the production of digital 3D models of pieces in our collection for both research and teaching purposes. We aim to use this technology and other digital means to move beyond the realm of vision to capture the full sensory experience of the ancient Americas, including the sounds, bodily sensations, and textures generated by artworks. The creation of a model of an Inca ceramic vessel, for example, leads to critical discoveries about artistic process and original function: How does the study of its texture reveal the technique of ancient Peruvian ceramic artists? How does a replica allow us to study its performative use and the way it held liquid and emitted sound when poured? We plan to use these models within the exhibition galleries and as an educational tool for students at Duke and in the greater Durham community.


Image Credit: Views of a 3D scan of an Art of the Americas object from the Nasher Museum of Art collection. Inca, Pacha with Ears of Corn, 1438–1532. Terracotta with slip, 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches (10.8 x 10.8 cm). The Paul A. and Virginia Clifford Collection, 1973.1.408.

Dictionary of Art Historians

Lee Sorensen
2017-present | Project Website

The Dictionary of Art Historians became a Wired! project in 2017. This dictionary is a compilation of art historians mentioned in major art historiographies. Biographical and methodological information about art historians can be difficult to find. Tucked away in obscure obituaries or foreign-language Festschriften, the basics of where an art historian trained or who his/her major influence was, or even what methodology the scholarship employs are often impossible to discern. This database is designed to give researchers a beginning point to learning the background of major art historians of western art history.

The Dictionary of Art Historians began in the fall of 1986 by indexing the historians cited in Eugene Kleinbauer’s Research Guide to the History of Western Art (1982) and his Modern Perspectives in Western Art History (1971), neither of which possessed an extensive index. Heinrich Dilly’s Kunstgeschichte als Institution (1979) and some of Kultermann’s Geschichte der Kunstgeschichte (1966), [the latter then only available in German] were added. The project remained dormant for a few years in card file format. In the interim, a myriad of art historiographies appeared or were reprinted. In 1996, the card project was transferred into an electronic form.

Image Credit


Hannah L. Jacobs

Paul Jaskot

Arial Sinclair

Kerry Rork


Past Collaborators:

Elizabeth Brown

Brittany Halberstadt

Jessica Orzulak

News & Events

New Dictionary of Art Historians Site

Digital Durham

Digital Durham 3.0: Experiencing the Presence of the Past
Trudi Abel, Victoria Szabo
2006-present | Project Website

The Digital Durham archive brings together numerous documents, maps, images, census data, and other primary source materials in a digital form accessible and searchable from the web. This project seeks to activate the archive as a teaching tool and public history resource through the use of annotated maps, multimedia-illustrated essays, and augmented reality tours of the city itself. Students in various Digital Durham related classes over the years have contributed not only to the archive itself, but also to deeper dives into specific research questions about Durham history as localized phenomena of spatial and temporal significance as they relate to race, religion, culture, and economic status. This work is reflected on the site, and in online projects. In addition, some of these essays are being translated to augmented reality experiences accessible via mobile device only from specific GPS points in the city itself, an approach that highlights the importance of they physical materiality and experience of the space itself as we reflect upon historical change over time. Through partnerships with local history institutions, libraries, and schools, we are also exploring collaborative approaches to public history-making in various city neighborhoods as well, including the Walltown area adjacent to Duke’s East Campus.

This project is part of Bass Connections.


FHI GreaterThanGames Lab

Joel Herndon

Hannah Jacobs

Brian Norberg


Digital Durham


Augmenting Urban Spaces