the wandering version

An experimental 3D web interface and unsupervised algorithm for navigating museum artifacts across multi-dimensional metadata.
dataviz, three.js, digital humanities


A counterexample to the notion that digital experience is seamless and "infinite-scroll-able", and celebrates the materiality in the museum collections metadata.

We often take it for granted that the digital experiences are seamless and immediate, mitigating gaps in time and space and achieving the value of universal. This might not be the case in the context of digital museum experiences, or generally speaking, of digital humanities.  

In this personal project, I proposed to create an interface that has frictions, gaps, delays, and randomness for displaying museum artifacts, as an attempt to provide alternative perspectives and engaging elements for discovering museum collections. 

The current prototype uses data fetched from the Smithsonian Open Access API, filtered by ‘on physical exhibition’, yielding around 3000 museum artifacts.

From the dataset, three properties – time, instituion, theme – are selected for measuring the sense of ‘closeness’ between the artifacts in this virtual space. While time and institution as measurements are pretty straight forward to understand, theme need some extra wrangling. The current version implemetes natural language processing (word2vec) on the descriptions of each object, in order to compare how similiar the descriptions are.