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published: March 2004
analytic scripts updated:
November 7, 2010

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License

Museum of Glass and the Virtual Hot Shop
Aaron Welch, Museum of Glass, USA

Demonstration: Your Colleagues - 2

The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington has developed a two-fold approach to utilizing technology and audio-visual technologies to extend the reach of its education department. Coupling a strong online education presence with onsite audio-visual components, the Museum of Glass ensures that visitors step into the real hot shop able to understand and appreciate more fully the work being created there.

In an innovative effort to meet the needs of 21st century learners, the Museum of Glass is developing a Virtual Hot Shop in association with POP! Multimedia in Seattle, WA.

Developed in an edutainment game format, the application will familiarize the player with various forms and techniques of glass making through an online orientation of terms and tools, coupled with streaming videos showing real glassblowers demonstrating the various techniques. The final component of the application is an interactive Flash activity that lets the participant try out the various techniques they have learned to make their own 'virtual artwork' that will then be stored in an online gallery for others to view.

In the first phase of the application (due to launch October 1st, 2002) the process of creating the classic macchia form will be demonstrated. Here the player must choose the different colors for the piece, shape and manipulate the piece with glass working tools, while keeping it the right temperature by heating it when necessary. After the macchia goes through the annealing process and is revealed, it can then be printed out on a badge with the player's name and added to an online gallery for others to enjoy.

In future phases of the Virtual Hot Shop different techniques of glass making will be added, including: goblet making, sand casting, mold blowing, and core vessel making.

Extensive physics, chemistry and art curriculum available online will support the game for teachers at the middle school and high school levels. The Virtual Hot Shop is the first demonstration of the Museum's ability to teach through its website. The Virtual Hot Shop will be an invaluable tool for anyone who cannot physically come to the Museum but who still has an interest in the medium of glass and the process of glass making.