GeoMuse connects people with places and objects for self-care and inspiration by helping them locate and augment real-world locations with valuable information as well as sharing bespoke creations with the place that inspired them. As an app, GeoMuse enables both a virtual and interactive experience connecting you to these sculptures as you enjoy the beautiful surrounding scenery, extending the form and function of a paper-based map.
This platform, more generally referred to as GeoMuse, can been adapted for use in other contexts. For example, GeoMuseUM is the first instance created for the University of Miami. Our team has also prototyped a Florida International University version of GeoMuse using ESRI tools and plans to continue expanding beyond South Florida.
GeoMuseUM is the University of Miami instance of GeoMuse, a custom geolocative web app that allows visitors to explore and learn about the extensive Public Sculpture Collection at the University of Miami’s Coral Gables, Florida, campus. The university’s Sculpture Park comprises more than 30 artworks by leading sculptors from around the world. These sculptures come from the collections of the University of Miami and the Lowe Art Museum the latter which maintains their care.
In Fall 2020, select original compositions from University of Miami Frost School of Music students were added into GeoMuseUM. Visit the following sculptures Circle and Waves XX, Fantasy 1958, Genesis, and Ascension/Descension to hear the compositions inspired by the respective sculpture.
The project began in 2018 when Professor Lien Tran (DePaul University as of 2021) and Dr. Diana Ter-Ghazaryan (University of Southern California as of 2022), both of who at the time were professors at the University of Miami, identified the opportunity to connect more people to the extensive and impressive public sculptures across the lush Coral Gables campus and to provide more and up-to-date information that was possible with the professionally printed map. The GeoMuseUM project was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon CREATE Grants Program, which supports innovative projects for teaching, learning, and scholarship that feature cultural resources from University of Miami Libraries and the Lowe Art Museum.
Creating GeoMuseUM was a highly collaborative and complex exercise that relied on the knowledge and experience of a wide array of contributors in art, science, interactive media, geographic information systems, music and more. This allowed us to lean into a model of co-creation and iteration that allows the program to continue to evolve. Moving forward we have visions to add more resources to the platform such as: a virtual guide with video component resources, 3D scans of sculptures, and the inclusion of student memories of campus life.
From the outset, this project was meant to be inclusive and welcoming—not only to currently affiliated UM constituents but also to prospective students, their families, and campus visitors. In fact, we imagined the project as a tool for visitors to discover various areas of campus. For example, as art aficionados come to campus to explore the sculptures and learn more about them, they would also take in the rest of UM’s beautiful campus and learn about its legacy and history. One additional plan we have is an initiative to crowdsource items and creations inspired by artwork in the Lowe Art Museum’s collection, and to feature those geolocatively as well, thereby making room for a multitude of voices. These ideas have involved collaborations with community members, Lowe Art Museum staff, and university faculty spanning the fields of performing arts, fine arts, math, and science.
GeoMuseUM Project Team
Tran and Ter-Ghazaryan put together a team of GIS and Interactive Media students and worked in partnership with colleagues from the Lowe Art Museum and central communications. Thank you to our interdisciplinary team for making this project possible.
Principal Investigators (PI)
Lien Tran and Diana Ter-Ghazaryan
Lowe Art Museum
Eugenia Incer, Associate Director of Collections and Exhibitions; Christina Larson, Mellon Academic Fellow; Ebonie Pollock, Curatorial Assistant; Mark Osterman, Digital Experience Manager and Head of Education
App Design & Dev
Lien Tran, Faculty Lead; Jacqueline Dubois ’21, UI/UX design; William Jattin MFA ’19, Central Communications, web development; Laura Miller MFA ’20, branding and identity
Diana Ter-Ghazaryan, Faculty Lead; Abe Parrish, GIS Services Librarian, Richter Library; Alia Giolitti ’20 and Michael Leyva ’20, GIS services
Related Press & Resources
December 2022 – ESRI case study
“Florida International University Creates Interactive Web App with ArcGIS Experience Builder to Showcase Sculpture Collection”
By Diana Ter-Ghazaryan on using ArcGIS Experience Builder to prototype a GeoMuse instance for Florida International University
January 2021 – MuseumNext article
“GeoMuseUM geolocative web app and sculpture guide”
By Lien B. Tran, Diana Ter-Ghazaryan, and Mark Osterman on GeoMuseUM and initial pedagogic uses for the app
November 2020 – Teaching & Learning conference
“GeoMuseUM: Geolocative App of Campus Public Sculptures used to Sculpt Innovative Curriculum and Music”
Presented by Lien B. Tran, Diana Ter-Ghazaryan, Melvin Butler, Brent Swanson, Christina Larson, and Mark Osterman on using GeoMuseUM for innovative curriculum to ‘sculpt music’ and art-related, stress-reducing activities that provide healthy outlets for anxiety and feelings of isolation.
Spring 2018 – Mellon CREATE Grant award
“Navigating the Public Sculpture Program at the U: A Virtual Tour”
Awarded to Lien B. Tran and Diana Ter-Ghazaryan.
Using several technology platforms already available at the University of Miami, we propose to prototype a geolocative application that will bring more visibility to the University of Miami’s Public Sculpture Program (PSP). By creating a virtual and interactive presence for the PSP, we aim to make the PSP objects easier to discover, to bring greater attention to this impressive collection of artwork, and to crowdsource items inspired by the objects in the collection.
Showcases & Presentations
- August 2022 – Lien B. Tran presented GeoMuseUM at the Play Make Learn conference at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- June 2021 – Lien B. Tran, Dr. Diana Ter-Ghazaryan (Florida International University), and Christina Larson (University of Miami Lowe Art Museum) presented GeoMuseUM at Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (AAMG)’s 2021 conference which explores “how academic museums and galleries are fostering wellness and embracing new understandings of equity in the midst of one of the most challenging social, political, and economic periods in American history. This year’s conference aims to find new paths and solutions to a more just and empathetic world.” Participants from across the country expressed interest in such technology/mapping applications for academic art contexts and potentially adapting something similar for their programs.
- April 2021 – Diana Ter-Ghazaryan and Lien B. Tran presented “GeoMuseUM: Geolocative Web App” at the American Geographers (AAG) conference as part of a special session on “Telling and Performing Spatial Stories“. They connected with other academics interested in storytelling through mapping.
- November 2020 – “GeoMuseUM: Geolocative App of Public Sculptures used to Sculpt Innovative Curriculum and Music” presentation at the University of Miami 2020 Faculty Showcase presented by Lien Tran, Assistant Professor of Interactive Media; Diana Ter-Ghazaryan, GIS Research Associate at FIU; Melvin Butler, Associate Professor at Frost School of Music; Brent Swanson, Lecturer at Frost School of Music; Christina Larson, Andrew W. Mellon Academic Engagement Fellow at the Lowe Art Museum; Mark Osterman, Manager of Museum Digital Experience at the Lowe Art Museum