An interesting article in todays Sacramento Bee brings the news that The Crocker Art Museum has embarked on a project to put most of its collection online. Much of the article concerns Jesse Bravo, the photographer who is creating the digital images, and describes some of the equipment he uses, and the quality of the finished product.
"A high-end home-digital camera can take a nice crisp photo of 11 megapixels; Bravo's equipment can capture 220 megapixels. Here's another comparison: Most Web-site images hold less than a single megabyte of data; these scans can grab about 275 megabytes. What this means is that you can zoom in on the resulting digital image and see the tiniest of brush strokes, the smallest crazing in the surface of the paint, even specks of dust."
Whoa. 275 Megabytes. That would take me about ten hours to download. The article doesn't say whether any images of that size will actually be posted on the web site. One purpose of the work is merely to archive the collection, though it will also make available to museum visitors some of the works which are rarely displayed, such as drawings which cannot be frequently exposed to light lest they fade. (I suppose that we will someday be able to go to the museum itself and sit in front of a computer and take a tour of the collection just as though we were actually there! Oh, wait!)
I've never been to the Crocker, myself. My visits to Sacramento have been infrequent and brief. The museum does enjoy a considerable reputation, despite being much smaller than museums in San Francisco and Los Angeles. I might get around to visiting it eventually. Or I might get a high speed Internet connection and not have to leave my air conditioned room.