Getty Images and Google have partnered on the World Wonders Project, virtually exploring 132 historic sites ranging from Stonehenge to Pompeii using Google’s Street View technology and Getty’s archival collection of 80 million plus images, as seen above.
Google 3D models, YouTube videos and Street View, the popular feature of Google Maps available in 39 countries, plus additional resources from partners including UNESCO, the World Monuments Fund and Ourplace, make this a unique project uniting preservation, technology, and heritage.
“Google is committed to preserving and promoting all types of culture online. The World Wonders Project brings to life many of the most significant historic sites on earth, making them accessible to an unprecedented global audience,” said Steve Crossan, Google Cultural Institute. The e-tourism project also helps open World Heritage Sites to the world, while also maintaining a light (virtual) footprint for these imperiled sites.
Under the auspices of the Cultural Institute, Google is publishing high resolution images of the Dead Sea Scrolls, digitizing archives of famous figures such as Nelson Mandela and presenting thousands of artworks through the Art Project.
"World Monuments Fund’s conservation work at World Heritage sites is an important part of our mission. Many people are not aware that these famed sites often have urgent conservation needs. World Wonders is an ideal vehicle to allow many people to learn about the work that is going into preserving the world's most treasured places," said Bonnie Burnham, President, World Monuments Fund.
American Express is continuing its ongoing commitment to preservation by partnering with the World Monuments Fund with an additional $1 million grant to help preserve six cultural heritage sites: eighteenth-century Balaji Ghat building in Varanasi, India; the bombed-out ruins of the former Cathedral of Saint Michael in Coventry, England; and the Ruta de la Amistad outdoor sculptures in Mexico City; the historic center of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil's first capital; the earthquake-damaged Canterbury Provincial Government buildings in Christchurch, New Zealand; and Edo-period townhouses in the city of Sawara, Japan damaged by the March 2011 earthquake.
"Over the years, the company's steadfast support has helped to preserve a hundred and thirty-eight sites in sixty-two countries, benefiting both the local populations and the many people from across the globe who visit them for their beauty and to learn about history and culture," said Burnham of partner American Express.
William J. Murtagh aptly summarized: "It has been said that, at its best, preservation engages the past in a conversation with the present over a mutual concern for the future." Thanks to major brands for continuing the conversation — and not just in English.