elms newport
The Elms (Photo provided by The Preservation Society of Newport County)

A first-of-its-kind exhibition at The Elms (1901) allows visitors to use their audio tour player’s screen to view “digital” objects superimposed within the room.  Augmented reality technology is finding its way into museums as a way to enhance and expand the visitor experience through objects that no longer exist, never even existed or are too fragile to display.

This augmented reality exhibition, Gilded Age 2.0, includes 10 tour stops created by students in RISD Assistant Professor Thomas Thwaites’  industrial design class, whose assignment was to use fine and decorative arts from the 19th century Gilded Age as inspiration to create contemporary objects for today’s “second Gilded Age.”

“This is a wonderful partnership and a grand experiment for the Preservation Society in how the latest technology could be used to help interpret our historic houses,” said Preservation Society of Newport County CEO & Executive Director Trudy Coxe. “We are already imagining many potential uses for this technology to help us create even more visually rich experiences for our visitors.  For instance, we might be able to display in its original setting a fragile textile or decorative object that could not otherwise be shown to the public.”

While taking the audio tour at The Elms, visitors who come across special targets located throughout the house can point their player at the target, which will cause the virtual object to appear on the player’s screen.  Thus, they may see a candlestick appear on the dining room table; a cat tree for humans in the French salon;  in the kitchen, packages of Chinese food are augmented by images of farmers, a chicken and a pig; and in the breakfast room, a puzzle cube combines French, Chinese and American patterns. Each stop includes an artist statement by the student offering additional insight into their artworks.

The exhibition will be on display at The Elms through June 22, 2018.

Ryan Belmore is the Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.