IT technology and services for museums

How long a minute lasts: On the "Grandfather Clock" by Maarten Baas, a person draws the hands, wipes them away, redraws them. Minutes stand still, lengthen - the Dutch designer and artist questions the sense of time in his work "Realtime". From 10 June 2021, the "Grandfather Clock" will be on display as part of an exhibition by Maarten Baas at the Pinakothek der Moderne. The IT Service Centre of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen made sure that time ran synchronously in the film: "We managed it with the help of network time protocol services," reveals Lars Raffelt: " Finding solutions to such a challenge is definitely the cherry on the cake in our daily business."

Baas Marten Baas paints his Grandfather Clock for "Realtime". Photo:

Joint IT strategy for 34 Bavarian museums

The electrical and communications engineer heads the IT Service Centre of the Bayerische Staatliche Gemäldesammlung und Museen. It provides IT services to the Pinakothek museums, the Brandhorst Collection and about 30 other museums in Munich and Bavaria - including the Porzellanikon in Selb, the Museum für Franken in Würzburg, the Textil- und Industriemuseum in Augsburg and the Archaeological Collections. " Museums no longer only display paintings on walls, more and more new media come into play and change the ways art is presented and how museum didactics work," Raffelt reports. "They need IT technology and services for that. Someone also has to take care of laying fibre optics cables or setting up databases. We realize that together with the LRZ."

The cooperation with the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) goes back almost 10 years now to 2012 when the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and Art initiated a joint IT strategy for all institutions part of the State Museums and Collections. For this purpose, it set up an IT advisory board in which the LRZ is represented by its deputy director, Prof. Dr. Helmut Reiser: "This is one job among many, but a special one," Reiser says. "How IT related questions qwer dealt with differed from museum to museum, there were hardly any uniform structures, nor a dedicated budget. The purchase of a server often competed with a painting." Now the IT advisory board meets twice a year, plans the digitization of the museums, centralises the software and hardware landscape, projects tasks and budgets. "As part of the advisory board, I was able to move a lot, support the museums structurally and in terms of content, and initiate interesting IT concepts," says Reiser.

Exploring art and history

Since 2015, the seven-member team around Lars Raffelt has been implementing the strategies and plans of the advisory board - increasingly with the support of the LRZ. With the help of the Munich Scientific Network (MWN), the LRZ networked the 34 museums and set up WLAN networks with eduroam and BayernWLAN. In the meantime, it also manages the email accounts of various institutions, their user and server directories, organises backups and archiving, bundles contracts and licences, provides technical set-up assistance with the IT Service Centre and organises help for users: "It is inefficient if each museum provides a server, application and database servers are now increasingly centralised," Raffelt reports. So far, the LRZ has set up 18 virtual machines for the Staatsgemäldesammlungen, which now run the programmes for administration and the digital presentations on the internet.

The latter attract visitors - and researchers: The digital copies of paintings, sculptures, tools and bones can be researched in databases, but also their history and origin. "The large collections make their data publicly accessible for the sake of provenance research, but for us it's not just about online access, but often also about copyright protection," Raffelt explains. Technical solutions from the IT Service Centre are needed to protect electronic copies and with them the work of living artists on the internet. And sometimes the presentation of works of art such as the Grandfather Clock also poses challenges for the IT specialists: "Employees in museums have different competences, they find it difficult to formulate which IT technology they need," Raffelt explains. "Together with the LRZ, we provide basic services and look for service providers for special needs." (vs/LRZ)


Virtual Tour throug the past exhibition of Caravaggio and his time in Utrecht at Alte Pinakothek 2019: You find the 360 degree tour and many digital material about Utrecht, the painters and events for the exhibition. Screenshots: Pinakothek 

Museum and art digital – for looking, astonishing,studying

Selected digital exhibitions, portals and tours - not only through the Bavarian State Painting Collections and Museums, but worth seeing.

Carravaggio in Utrecht - Multimediashow about the exhibitiomn 2019

Alte Pinakothek digital - delicious is the story of the land of milk and honey

Textil- and Industrymuseum in Augsburg via film

TIM Augsburg presents itself digitally

Porzellanikon in Selb and its stories about the depot

• Youtube-Channel of the Museums von Franken

• The virtual Riemenschneidersaal of the Museum von Franken

• Bavaria's digital art treasure Bavarikon - own exhibitions will come maybe soon?