Inspiration

Art is a fundamental aspect of any culture, and to learn more about art means to learn more about human life. It’s for this reason that art from various time periods, painters, and societies are studied. Museums are vital to the preservation of influential art pieces, and the information surrounding them.

However, given the vast differences within art, it should come as no surprise that there are many differences between the museums that host them. By extension, not all art museums provide their visitors the same experiences. Some museums don’t provide descriptions for their art and instead, rely heavily on their tour guides. This implies that those visiting choosing to visit the museum on their own will be missing crucial context. In addition, even when descriptions are given, if the museum-goer is a tourist, then they may not be able to read the description provided. In both of these cases, it means that the museum-goer will be missing the context they need to appreciate the art piece.

To combat this, the three of us on this team have developed ‘ArtVEIL’ - a scalable web app designed to provide museum-goers the background information they need.

The inspiration for this idea stemmed from the three creators’ involvement in visual art and also from the anticipation of tourism being a popular market in a post-pandemic era. This product is targeted for novice museum goers and tourists. The unique selling point of this product is that the user can choose whether or not they want to create an account. The benefit of creating an account is that the user will be able to access their previous search results as well, so this is likely good for people that visit museums often/want to invest more time into learning art.

What it does

Artveil allows users to scan an artwork on their phone, and gives them information about the scanned painting as well as a detailed description. This is beneficial for any user that cannot cannot read the description of artwork in a museum, or for art without a title or description.

This app will help for accessibility purposes. Since the app is in safari, it can take advantage of the Safari’s Screen Reader and as such, the app can be used for people that want to have the description of the piece read to them. In terms of business proposition, this app is intended to be non-profit during its launch. It only uses the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s API. However, as time goes on, the idea is that the team will be able to gain access to more museums’ API’s and become more accessible.

How we built it

We used a React.js front end with firebase. We used Firebase to authenticate users and upload and store images. We also used the SerpWow api to process the image to determine the title of the work based off the scan. We also used the MET Museum open CSV to get data on our art pieces. We used Bootstrap with HTML and CSS to style the front end and Fimga to design and prototype.

Challenges we ran into

We had some issues with coordinating across different time zones to collaborate, and well as some issues with determining a tech stack to use at the begining. We also had some first time hackers on the team, so we had to put some time aside to get set up and learn some new technologies.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're very proud of how well we managed to integrate the various APIs with our application despite having some impediments initially. We are also proud of being able to smoothly use the app on both web and desktop and finally, we are proud of our new hackers for doing a great job quickly picking up new technology.

What we learned

We learned a lot about the Firebase and its various services as well as React, such as lifecycle hooks.

What's next for ArtVeil

We want to hopefully be able to use bigger databases to get the art data, as well as have a larger set of options for users once they are signed in, such as a history of scanned art.

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