New Mexico Association of Museums Teams Up with the Highlands Cultural Technology Program for Virtual Tech Showcase 


A woman presents to New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham who is facing away from the camera.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham attends Highlands’ 2019 Tech Showcase.

September 13, 2021

An interactive map, new websites, short-form videos and animations, digital illustrations, an interactive title wall, and an augmented reality web app are among the multimedia projects that will be featured in this year’s New Mexico Association of Museums, or NMAM, Tech Showcase. The projects were created by student interns from the New Mexico Highlands University Cultural Technology Program who worked over the summer with museum professionals to devise adaptive strategies for maintaining a connection with the public, undaunted by the disruptions in normal operations caused by the pandemic.  

This virtual event, via Zoom, will take place on Friday afternoon, September 24, starting at 1 p.m. at this link: Each intern will give a 5-minute presentation about their project, followed by Q & A. 

According to NMAM President Ryan Flahive, “The Tech Showcase has been a much-anticipated event at NMAM’s annual meeting since 2009, organized by the Cultural Technology Program of the New Mexico Highlands University Department of Media Arts & Technology, a partnership with the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA). This year, as a prelude to NMAM’s annual meeting November 14-17, we are pleased to cosponsor this inspiring virtual event highlighting a range of projects developed in collaboration with museums to enhance exhibitions and provide the public with virtual and online experiences during COVID-19.”  

“Under normal circumstances interns would be working onsite in New Mexico’s museums and other cultural settings,” said Lauren Addario, Director of Highlands’ cultural technology internship program. “For the past two summers, internships had to be conducted remotely while following guidelines issued by the CDC, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, and the New Mexico Department of Health. The interns work under the guidance of their museum supervisors and also receive mentorship from Media Arts faculty members and alumni.”   

Also featured this year will be a 3-D web app ButtARfly for mobile phones and computers, created by a team of Highlands Media Arts faculty. The app, one of seven proposals funded by the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Museum, renders 2-D images of butterflies from the Smithsonian open-access digital collections into a 3-D format that invites users to learn more. Highlands Software System Design professor Jonathan Lee, says “the app brings these scientific butterfly specimens to life by releasing them into the camera feed of the user, providing an augmented reality experience.” 

Featured Student Internship Projects 

Los Luceros Historic Site: Site Manager Ethan Ortega and Interpretative Ranger Rebecca Ward worked with intern Anais Savariau to create a 9-panel poster display highlighting the stories of young farmers who have returned to their farms in northern New Mexico. Mentor: Chris Romero 

Los Luceros Historic Site: Site Manager Ethan Ortega and Instructional Coordinator Carly Stewart worked with intern Jacob Robinson to produce an orientation video that features prominent farmers and regional leaders. Faculty Advisor: Morgan Barnard 

New Mexico History Museum: Preparator Chris Albert and Curator Cathy Notarnicola supervised intern Jonah Spear as he developed a website and informational database for the Native American Artisans Program of the Palace of the Governors. Faculty Advisor: Rianne Trujillo 

Museum of International Folk Art: A museum team including Exhibit Designer Trilby Nelson, Curator Carrie Hertz, Graphic Designer Monica Meehan, and Director of Education Leslie Fagre, worked with intern Jonah Spear to create a web app that allows visitors to engage with an interactive map of Scandinavia for the exhibition Dressing With Purpose that will open at the museum in December. Faculty Advisor: Rianne Trujillo 

Currents New Media Festival: Intern Elana Salazar worked with Alison Nitkiewicz, Mariannah Amster, and Frank Regano to document the annual international contemporary art event in Santa Fe featuring virtual reality, augmented reality, computer art, robotics, desktop and internet art, interactive and immersive installation, 3D prints, video and sound art and more. Mentor: Stephen Snyder; Faculty Advisor: Morgan Barnard 

516 ARTS: Intern Daniel Ulibarri worked with Education Coordinator Viola Arduini to enhance the organization’s overall digital presence. Mentor: Veronica Black; Faculty Advisor: Morgan Barnard 

High Plains Grassland Alliance: Working with NMHU faculty member Joe Zebrowski, intern Lindsey Abeita created a new user interface and web portal. The High Plains Grassland Alliance is a group of ranchers collecting data for a regional climate data map. Faculty Advisor: Lauren Addario 

Bradbury Science Museum Association: Working with an exhibition team headed up by scientist Harshini Mukundan, intern Samantha Gallegos created three animated shorts and a website for See the Science, an online STEM learning exhibit targeted at 5th-grade students. Faculty Advisor: Angela Meron 

Manitos Community Memory Project: Under the guidance of Project Director Dr. Estevan Rael Galvez, interns Natasha Vasquez and Lily Padilla created branding, publication design and illustration, and Danny Sharp set up a media preservation lab for this cultural heritage initiative. Faculty advisors: Mariah Fox Hausman and Morgan Barnard  

New Mexico Museum of Art: Intern Becca Sharp worked with a museum team that included Exhibition Designer Matt Celesky, Graphic Designer Monica Meehan, and Curator Kate Ware to envision and create the interactive title wall for the exhibit Breathtaking. Faculty Advisors: Rianne Trujillo, Miriam Langer