Baltimore—One-hundred fifty technology and creative experts gathered into 14 teams to build programs and applications to enhance the museum experience for visitors at the Walters Art Museum’s second annual ArtBytes Hackathon, January 24-26. After a weekend of working in the museum for inspiration, five teams were selected by a panel of distinguished judges and awarded $1,000 each in prize money.

“With free access to our rich online resources including digital images, teams were able to develop some of the most inspiring projects we’ve ever seen,” says Julia Marciari-Alexander, executive director of the Walters Art Museum. “We are grateful to our technology committee and staff for fostering such an inspiring weekend of ingenuity.”

The winning projects were:

  1. QR Code Accessible Video Tour Library: A mobile tool that uses QR codes to activate videos with an expert talking about a specific work of art and include close-ups of each artwork.
  2. Get Public: A database of public art and monuments found around Baltimore city.
  3. ArtLiesAn iPhone game based on the game two truths and a lie. A five-question quiz features art and information pulled from the Walters’ API (application programming interface).
  4. ArtMemeA web application and Twitter robot that uses the Doge meme to describe different works of art inside the Walters.
  5. Walters Bot: Two Twitter robots, @WaltersBot and @WaltersStatuary, mimic viral headlines while reproducing links to images of art inside the Walters and share links to images of statues whenever someone tweets Statue of Limitations when they really mean to tweet Statute of Limitations.

Prize money and the weekend’s expenses were generously supported by Charles and Mary Kay Nabit.

Jeannie Howe, executive director, Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance; Sid Meier, director of creative development, Firaxis; Sheri Parks, associate professor in American Studies at the University of Maryland and regular contributor to WYPR “Midday”; Murray Taylor, president, Digital Steamworks; and Deb Tillett, president and executive director, Emerging Technology Centers were judges for the competition.

About the Walters Museum

The Walters Art Museum is located in downtown Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon Cultural District at North Charles and Centre Streets. At the time of his death in 1931, museum founder Henry Walters left his entire collection of art – including a legendary collection of illuminated medieval manuscripts that is a national treasure – to the city of Baltimore. Between 1895 and 1931, Walters collected around 730 codices.  Its permanent collection includes ancient art, medieval art and manuscripts, decorative objects, Asian art and Old Master and 19th-century paintings. Wyndham Baltimore Peabody Court is the official hotel of the Walters Art Museum.