Monday, August 15, 2011

Virtual 20th Century Ball Brothers Glass Factory makes debut!

Combining manuscripts, photographs, architectural records, oral histories and advanced 3D technology, the Center for Middletown Studies, Archives and Special Collections, and the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts, has allowed researchers to view history in a new and dynamic way through Blue Mars.
Blue Mars is a virtual world that allows researchers to explore user-created content as an avatar in a multiplayer platform. This free, online virtual environment will feature portions of the 20th century Ball Brothers glass factory in Muncie, Indiana. Researchers can witness the work of a glass factory employee, while also having access to primary and secondary research materials including photographs, architectural renderings, oral histories, and manuscripts from the Stoeckel Archives of Local History, Drawings and Documents Archive, and Minnetrista Cultural Center.
This project is a prototype for a much larger “Virtual Middletown” that will include schools, churches, homes, and businesses ranging from the 1920s to 1930s in regard to the Robert and Helen Lynd studies of “Muncie as Middletown.” For more information about this project, please contact Archives and Special Collections at (765) 285-5078 or at

A free download of Blue Mars is also available at

Images top to bottom: P20-0325 Ball Brothers Machine, Otto Sellers Photograph Collection;
Lynd, Robert Staughton, and Helen Lynd. Middletown, a study in contemporary American culture . New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1930; Virtual Middletown Project YouTube video.

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