Vizcaya launches program to offer visitors new experiences through 3D technology

  • MIAMI, Florida
  • /
  • November 06, 2018

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Vizcaya's Barge can now be explored virtually online and onsite via a touch screen.

Technologies transport visitors to spaces
that are not accessible to the public


MIAMI – November 11, 2018 – With support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Vizcaya Museums and Gardens has launched a new program that uses 3D documentation and printing technologies to virtually transport visitors to spaces within the estate that are not accessible to the public.

The museum, a National Historic Landmark, worked with Daruma Tech (a Boca Raton-based technology company) and the University of Florida to create virtual interactive experiences including a website that enable visitors to learn about and explore areas of Vizcaya that are normally inaccessible. These include the Barge—a partly submerged breakwater decorated with mythical sculptures created by sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder (1870–1945)—and the Pool Grotto, which features an elaborate ceiling mural created by American artist Robert W. Chanler (1872–1930).


“When visitors come to Vizcaya they can virtually explore the Barge and Swimming Pool Grotto on a touch screen interactive,” says Mark Osterman, Adult Learning and Engagement Manger for Vizcaya. “This interactive lets visitors explore the history, design and preservation challenges of these spaces. Visitors will also get to see and touch some of the 3D prints that were made during this project.”

Handheld-size 3D models of elements found on the Barge, such as its sculptures, and sections of the ceiling mural have been printed in partnership with Florida International University Miami Beach Urban Studios. These models will be placed on display and used for educational programs with daytime visitors and school groups.

Historic recreation and pool area of Villa Vizcaya

Funding for this project is part of the Knight Foundation Arts Tech initiative, which aims to help arts and cultural institutions use digital tools to meaningfully engage visitors in art. Knight, which promotes informed and engaged communities, has helped institutions—from newsrooms to libraries—adapt to and thrive in the digital age.

“Cultural institutions have a big role to play in telling our stories and helping us understand the world around us. Vizcaya’s project embraces the power of technology to spread these lessons, and meaningfully engage visitors in our local culture,” said Chris Barr, Knight Foundation director for arts and technology.

Vizcaya recognizes its vulnerability to sea level rise and climate change. Through the use of 3D documentation Vizcaya is working to be a model of resilience for our community. 3D documentation allows Vizcaya to measure surface loss, predict rates of deterioration, analyze effects of sea level rise, measure objects and structures, enhance engagement and improve accessibility.

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Link to images of 3D models.
Photos courtesy of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

Charlotte Donn
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
3251 South Miami Avenue
Miami, Florida
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
About Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Vizcaya  Museum  and  Gardens  is  a  National  Historic  Landmark  that  preserves  its cultural and environmental resources to engage people in connecting with the past, understanding the present and shaping the future.  Built  between  1914  and  1922 as the winter home of farming manufacturer James Deering, Vizcaya is  one  of  the  most  intact  remaining  examples  from  this  era  in  United  States  history,  when  the  nation’s  most  successful  entrepreneurs  built  estates  inspired  by  the  stately  homes  of  Europe.  Vizcaya  features  a  Main  House  filled  with  a  decorative  art  collection,  10  acres  of  formal  gardens,  a  rockland  hammock  (native  forest),  mangrove  shore,  and  a  historic  village  that  is  being  restored  to  tell  Vizcaya’s  full  story  and  provide  additional  spaces  for  programs  and  community  outreach,  including  those  on  agriculture.  Vizcaya  has  been  a  community  hub  since  it  opened  to  the  public  in  1953;  it  currently  welcomes  about  300,000  visitors  annually.    Located  on  Biscayne  Bay  at  3251  South  Miami  Avenue,  Vizcaya  is  open  Wednesday  through  Monday  from  9:30  a.m. to 4:30  p.m.  Closed Tuesdays, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas  Day.  For  more  information,  visit,  connect  via  social  media,  or  call  305-250-9133.

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