Final Blog Post

The summer went by incredibly quickly because I was having such a wonderful time. Even though I was working 9 to 5pm it was not a burden at all because I was doing something that I enjoyed thoroughly. Any challenges that arose were fun instead of frustrating because I had people both at the Rose and at the MakerLab to bounce ideas off of.

I have to say that I am quite proud of the final product of the virtual environment that I worked on this summer with the help of another Maker In Residence at the Maker Lab. Here is a snapshot of the same part of the exhibit I posted last time – I hope you will see the difference!

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Virtual visitors can either walk around the galleries on their computer or they can put on the Oculus Rift and be more completely immersed in this old exhibit. I believe this will make a great difference in the lives of people who would otherwise be unable to come to the museum. Finally I’m still working on printing some of the sculptures, which will then make it possible for people who are visually impaired to experience the art works.

In the process of creating this space, I learned quite a few things: from teamwork to new ways of researching art historical topics. All of these will be a great help in both my academic and professional life. Yet one thing stands out the most to me – the realization that I am able to learn on my own and expand upon what I’ve been taught in class. For example, in the course of the last few months, I had to learn how to use a whole new game engine to develop my virtual environment in.



Even though we all take classes that can help us learn as much as possible for our professional life, there is only so much that can be taught in a course. This is particularly true for a field like Computer Science, which is constantly evolving and demands of practitioners to constantly keep up with new technology. Despite having learned how to work only in Blender in class, I applied the skills I had amassed in the classroom and quickly adapted to the new program. I’m really grateful to have had practice in this because it has given me the peace of mind that whatever field of work I go into, I’ll be able to orient myself quickly because I have learned at university how to learn.

  • Daniela Dimitrova ’16

Virtual Exhibit Takes Shape

Working at the Rose Art Museum over the summer has been a considerably different experience than being here during the school year, which is when I learn about the logistics of keeping a museum’s doors open. Recently I got to see what the process of de-installing an exhibition looks like. Currently I am getting a glimpse into what planning one entails, as my work is being done in relation to the museum planning a reimagining of a historical exhibition of Louise Nevelson’s work.


Detail of the empty Fineberg Gallery, which will soon be full of artwork again.

A fair bit of my time at the beginning of this internship went into researching the immersive installation created by Nevelson at the Rose in ‘67, which I am recreating virtually. I also spent quite a bit of time on measuring the space so I can faithfully reconstruct what it looked like. Later I began modeling some of the sculptures and thinking about 3D printing them at the Maker Lab, which is located in the library. There I talked to other enthusiastic students/makers who loved the idea of making art museums more accessible via new technology. A current worker at the Maker Lab became really interested in this project and is joining me in continuing to work on this project over the next semester.

So far we have worked on putting together everything we have of the space and of the sculptures into a game engine called Unreal. From this engine one can export the virtual environment to an Oculus Rift, which allows the user to experience the environment as if they are physically in it.

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Maker Lab worker wearing the Oculus Rift and a computer screen showing what he is seeing.

Unreal Second ImageDetail of Lower Rose Gallery with two works by Louise Nevelson. On the left Totality Dark, 1962, courtesy of Pace Gallery, NY, and The Tropical Gardens on the right, 1967, courtesy of Grey Gallery, NY.

Talking to museum staff about recreating the exhibit has also been incredibly encouraging. Everyone has been passionate about museum accessibility and has been helpful when it came time to do more art historical research and to think about questions of copyright of images.

Aside from the major difference of not having homework and classes to go to, this summer has so far been a really optimistic glimpse into the World of Work. Being surrounded by interesting people who are enthusiastic about museum accessibility and new technology has been great. Furthermore, getting a chance to delve into an area of work and focus on something I am really interested in has been phenomenal and I feel like I am learning a lot.

In that line of thought, I am indeed exploring more deeply ideas and technology that I studied in 3D Animation class. I’m spending quite a bit of time learning new things and problem solving sometimes on my own and sometimes with colleagues. These skills feel like they are going to be essential to my professional development because no matter how much any of us learns in college we will need to think on our feet and learn new things as we go along.

– Daniela Dimitrova ’16






Combining art history and computer science

My internship thankfully started smoothly and without much trepidation because I will be spending my summer working at an institution that I am already familiar with – The Rose Art Museum.



Photograph by Mike Lovett.


The Rose is a university museum located on Brandeis’ campus that specializes in post-war contemporary art. A key part of its stated mission is to affirm and advance “the values of freedom of expression, academic excellence, global diversity, and social justice that are the hallmarks of Brandeis University.” This dedication to social justice and engagement with making the museum more accessible is the reason I was able to work with museum staff to craft an internship that would help do just that.

I hope to provide a way for people who are unable to visit the museum physically to explore the museum space virtually. I will do this by first modeling two galleries of the museum in 3D using a program called Blender. If you would like to take a peek at what this might eventually look like, here is a picture of a draft I created for a class called 3D Animation.


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Later I will be recreating sculptures that will be on view at the Rose in the future. The finished models of the sculptures will be 3D printed at the MakerLab, which is a space in the Brandeis library that encourages creation and the use of new technology and new ways of making. The printed replicas of the works of art will allow people who are sight impaired to touch them and experience the art in a different way. Some other institutions have also been engaging in a similar practice. For example, there is currently an exhibit in Madrid called “Touching the Prado”, which is made up of famous paintings recreated in relief so that they can be experienced through touch. To read more about the exhibit you can take a look at this New York Times article about it.



A visitor experiencing in relief a copy of the “Mona Lisa” at the Prado. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images


Finally, once I have both the galleries and the art works mapped in virtual space, I will then work on discovering productive ways to translate this project to an online format that would allow virtual visitors to walk around and explore. This portion of my work will continue into the school year in the form of an Independent Study in the Computer Science Department.

By working on this project I will be making the museum accessible both to people who previously were unable to touch any of the work and to people could not physically visit the museum. I hope that by the end of the summer I will have all of the modeling done and that I will be well on my way to learning new ways that the model might live online.

Through this internship and project I will also be combining two of my main passions – art history and computer science. This is a really unique and instrumental moment in my career development because so few other places provide opportunities to students to combine these two fields. I am really grateful that I have a chance to do this work!