Minerva: A system for building virtual museums

The project called Minerva, started in 1995 by Marco Somalvico at the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory, has the ambitious goal to extend the range of activities that computers can play in cultural heritage. Minerva is a software system that is able to automatically organize virtual museums, starting from the collections of works of art and the environments in which they must be displayed. By organization we mean two distinct processes: the preparation process, which is the arrangement of works of art in conceptually relevant ordered groups, and the allocation process, which is the placement of these groups within a given geometrical space trying to preserve their arrangement.

Minerva can be used both as a support for museum curators, to help them in finding appropriate allocation of the works of art, and as an advanced tool for museum visitors, to enhance their personalized fruition of virtual museums.

We have developed several versions of Minerva for addressing different problems in different museums. All these versions basically share the same architecture that blends together the classical inferential techniques of Artificial Intelligence and the more recent paradigm and technology of multiagent systems.

This research has been partially funded by Politecnico di Milano, CNR (National Research Council), and INTERREG III-A.

People involved

Francesco Amigoni
Viola Schiaffonati

Some relevant publications

·         Amigoni, F.; Schiaffonati, V.; Somalvico, M. (2001). Minerva: An Artificial Intelligent System for Composition of Museums. Proceedings of the "International Cultural Heritage Informatics Meeting (ICHIM01)" Volume 2 (Short Papers/Posters and Demos), Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy, September 3-7 2001, p. 389-398.

·         Amigoni, F.; Schiaffonati, V.; Somalvico, M. (2001). The Minerva Virtual Museum for the Museum of Design (in Italian). In Moretti, D.; Pallabazzer, J. A.; Rebaglio A. (editors); The Milan Museum of Design: The Museum in the Network for the Network of Museums, POLI.design, p. 63-65.

·         Amigoni, F.; Schiaffonati, V. (2003). The Minerva Multiagent System for Supporting Creativity in Museums Organization. Proceedings of the “IJCAI2003 (Eighteenth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence) Workshop on Creative Systems: Approaches to Creativity in AI and Cognitive Science”, IJCAI, Acapulco, Mexico, August 9-10 2003, p. 65-74.

·         Amigoni, F.; Schiaffonati, V. (2003). The Minerva Multiagent System for Museum Organization. Proceedings of the “AI*IA (Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence) Workshop on Artificial Intelligence for the Cultural Heritage”, Servizio Editoriale Universitario di Pisa, Pisa, Italy, September 23 2003, p. 55-59.

·         Schiaffonati, V. (2004). Interview on “Artificial Intelligence for Cultural Heritage” edited by Luciana Bordoni (in Italian). Kermes - La rivista del restauro, Nardini editore, January-March 2004, p. 14-15.

·         Amigoni, F.; Schiaffonati, V. (2004). The Minerva Multiagent System for Museum Organization. Intelligenza Artificiale, Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence (AI*IA), 1(1), February 2004, p. 39-43.

·         Amigoni, F.; Schiaffonati, V. (2004). Artificial Intelligence for Automatic Museum Composition (in Italian). Kermes - La rivista del restauro, Nardini editore, XVII, July-September 2004, p. 68.

·         Amigoni, F.; Schiaffonati, V. (2004). Artificial Intelligence for Automatic Museum Organization. Politecnico, Politecnico di Milano, 8, 2004, p. 138-143.

·         Amigoni, F.; Schiaffonati, V. (2005). Using Artificial Intelligence for Supporting Museum Organization. Proceedings of the “Multimedia.Information@Design for Cultural Heritage (MIDECH05)”, Aracne, Milano, Italy, April 5 2005, p. 127-131.

·         Amigoni, F.; Schiaffonati, V. (2005). A New Version of Minerva for Organizing Archeological Museums. Proceedings of the “AI*IA (Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence) Workshop on Cultural Heritage”, Centro Copie Bicocca Editrice, Milan, Italy, September 20 2005.

·         Amigoni, F.; Della Torre, S.; Schiaffonati, V. (2006). Yet Another Version of Minerva: The Isola Comacina Virtual Museum. Proceedings of the “ECAI2006 (Seventeen European Conference on Artificial Intelligence) Workshop on Intelligent Technologies for Cultural Heritage Exploitation”, Università di Trento, Riva del Garda, Italy, August 28 2006, p. 1-5.

·         Amigoni, F.; Schiaffonati, V. (2009). The Minerva System: A Step Toward Automatically Created Virtual Museums. Applied Artificial Intelligence, Taylor & Francis, 23(3), March 2009, p. 204-232.