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Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art Deploys Polycom RealPresence Video Solutions

April 09, 2013

Polycom, a provider of standards-based unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions, announced that Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art (NMAfA) has deployed Polycom RealPresence video solutions to bring its vast collection of African art to a global audience.

Through interactive and real-time video classes, briefings, tours and collaborative sessions, guests get a new perspective on how artists in Africa have expressed themselves through art over centuries. It also gives them a new learning experience on the diverse culture and people living in the continent.

The project is part of NMAfA’s effort to promote Arts education in schools.

Says Deborah Stokes, curator for Education at NMAfA, said, “We knew we had to get creative to find a way for schools to enhance their art education without spending resources. With Polycom RealPresence video solutions, we’re bringing content and culture alive to students around the world – teaching students how to look at art, and engage with the museum’s educational programs to enrich understanding, inspire, encourage curiosity, and make connections.”

NMAfA has deployed Polycom HDX Series room system and a Polycom RealPresence Collaboration Server, to conduct virtual visits and collaboration sessions globally. Stokes also uses Polycom People+Content to appear integrated with images and artworks.

This is not the first time NMAfA is using Polycom video collaboration to enhance its reach to humanity. Earlier in 2011, NMAfA used Polycom RealPresence video collaboration systems to virtually connect a group of young survivors of the 2010 catastrophic Haitian earthquake that devastated the island nation, with peers in D.C.

Stokes acquired the Polycom equipment in 2011 using a grant applied for with help from the Polycom Grant Assistance Program.

According to Stokes, the museum’s Polycom infrastructure helps Stokes deliver an exceptionally lifelike collaboration experience, and Polycom’s support for open standards allows the museum’s programs to be available to a broader audience.

Edited by Braden Becker

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