Hermitage Virtual Academy is on-line
On 30 April, 2003, Moscow and St. Petersburg were connected by a TV bridge show where the Hermitage and IMB announced the opening of the Hermitage Virtual Academy, a collection of on-line courses available from the Hermitage website. This event carries on the two parties' long cooperation and marks the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg.
''Today we make available to our visitors three history courses. The Virtual Academy uses the advantages of combining studies by correspondence with the cutting-edge Internet technologies,'' said Dr. Mikhail B. Piotrovsky, Director of the Hermitage.
''IBM is privileged to cooperate with the Hermitage. Our joint achievement is making this museum's treasures available to the entire world. We are happy to announce on the eve of the St. Petersburg Tercentenary that the Internet education in our country's history is now developing with the use of the IBM technologies, know-how and expertise,'' commented Kirill Kornilyev, General Director IBM East Europe/Asia.
The Hermitage Virtual Academy opens today in the Education section of the Hermitage website, including three on-line teaching courses in Russian and English available to all Internet users. They are prepared by the Hermitage art historians in close cooperation with the Teaching Center of IBM East Europe/Asia in Moscow.
The courses ''Ancient Egypt'', ''Age of Knights'' and ''Winter Palace: The Residence of Russian Emperors'', drawing on the Hermitage collections,. are intended for children, teachers, parents and any other Internet users who may be interested.
State-of-the-art Internet technologies were used including function and information templates. Website creation methods including IBM Knowledge Producer 6 and non-professional programming techniques allowed the Hermitage staff to prepare impressive teaching courses within a short time. Design testing and operation simplicity were important criteria, since the courses are intended for mass users rather than a particular target audience.
The course ''Winter Palace: The Residence of Russian Emperors'' celebrates the 300th Anniversary of St. Petersburg. It describes the life of Russian Emperors in the Winter Palace, acquisition of art collections, official receptions, family events and balls. Watercolors and prints of the Winter Palace interiors show how the Hermitage rooms looked in the past.
The course ''Ancient Egypt'' is encompassing, bringing together materials from the geography, history, religion, architecture and literature of Ancient Egypt during 3 millenia before Christ. It includes 400+ illustrations from the Hermitage Egyptian collection and materials of the Russian Archeology Expedition to Egypt in 1961-63.
The course ''Age of Knights'' is dedicated to the medieval world, describing weapons, armory, crusades, tournaments, coats-of-arms and orders. Illustrations show protective armory, cold steel and fire arms. Special note is given to the history of the castle of Vyborg. Using the technology and experience of on-line teaching programs provided by the IBM Teaching Center, the Hermitage staff will now be able to prepare new teaching program showing the Hermitage collections.
Cooperation between IBM and the State Hermitage Museum was started in 1997. The digital library of works of art, website, e-shop, teaching and IT center, multimedia information booths, imaging studio and the new Virtual Academy became possible due to the technology grant extended by IBM.