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Museum Innovation Fund

museum innovation fund logo purple and turquoise boxes spelling MIF 

In 2021, the Academy of Natural Sciences in collaboration with the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design established the Museum Innovation Fund (MIF) to support projects developed by Drexel faculty and students that promote innovative approaches to museum learning and engagement.

We are pleased to announce the Winter 2023/Spring 24 awardees whose projects are both centered around the creation of “digital twins:”

Fusion of Science and Art: Creating Interactive Digital Twins for Natural Science

Led by Emil Polyak, Assistant Professor, Digital Media; and Kathi Martin, Professor of Fashion working with independent graduate students

This interdisciplinary project, situated at the juncture of technology, natural science, arts, and education, uses advanced 3D scanning and cross-polarized photography to create detailed digital twins. After exploring the ways in which digital modeling advances the Academy’s research and public experience, the group will carefully select specimens and develop an interactive platform for exhibition.


Led by Nick Jushchyshyn, Program Director, Virtual Reality & Immersive Media working with seniors in Digital Media

Collaborating with the Academy’s Entomology Collection, the Specimania project team will develop an interactive kiosk featuring holographic displays and touch screen interfaces that the public will experience as "Digital Dioramas" and "Virtual Specimen Boxes" of Philadelphia native bees. Themed around biodiversity and evolution, the project will celebrate the many species of native bees in the Philadelphia region through immersive technologies. As part of Specimania the students will explore the potential of digital twins manifesting as 3D prints, online exhibits, and educational games that offer diverse experiences for ANS visitors and expand public engagement beyond the museum’s walls.