Flyover Zone Welcomes Lothar Altringer, The Director of Its Virtual Museum
Flyover Zone recently released Virtual Museum. The online collections contain over 1,000 interactive 3D models of Greek and Roman sculptures. They are growing at the rate of approximately two hundred models per year. The vision of the museum is to gradually add three dimensional objects from the other cultures covered on the company’s virtual tours.
A person wearing glassesDescription automatically generated with low confidenceThe launch of the Virtual Museum was also the occasion for bringing onboard a new hire, Lothar Altringer. A graduate of the University of Bonn, where he earned a master’s degree in Art History, German Literature, and Philosophy, he served as the Curator of Exhibitions at the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany for nine years and then worked as the Deputy Director of the LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn for eighteen years. Recently retired, on August 1, 2022, Lothar Altringer assumed his new appointment as the Director of Flyover Zone’s Virtual Museum.

The company celebrates the launch of its Virtual Museum and the arrival of its new Director in our August 2022 newsletter. In it, you can read an interview of him by Flyover Zone’s founder, Bernard Frischer.

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Flyover Zone is honored to welcome you to our team, Lothar Altringer. Can you please tell us why you accepted our offer to assume the directorship of our Virtual Museum and, more generally, to collaborate with our company?
Museums have always been special places for me: places to enjoy art and to learn more about the world (and sometimes about myself), places to get new ideas or to simply be creative, but above all places to meet other people and be exposed to their ideas. All this applies to virtual museums, too!
And I am convinced that there is still a lot of potential in developing the virtual museum format. In this respect, I am proud to be part of the creative team at Flyover Zone working on the further enhancement of the virtual museum. The museum is already very impressive and brings together over 1,000 exhibits, with a diversity and quality that no museum in the world can offer.

To come to the second part of your question: each work of art comes from a specific context, geographically and chronologically. This is missing in the normal museum; the artworks are usually shown there in isolated form and without their original context. This has its own appeal: to be able to look at a single relief from the Parthenon in 3D and in detail, at leisure and without distraction, is a special pleasure. But it is an experience to see the same relief in its original place of installation and again in the context with the other artworks of the Parthenon and the Acropolis, as is now possible with the new virtual reconstruction of Flyover Zone. The fact that the museum is part of the Flyover Zone program provides a unique opportunity to show the artworks in our virtual museum and to present them in the virtual reconstruction of Yorescape in context and in their original location.
What are some of your plans for the Virtual Museum?
The opening hours are already perfect, around the clock! And with one thousand exhibits there is already a lot to see! Apart from that, we will make the visit a bit easier and at the same time more exciting: e.g., in the future the highlights in each room will be particularly focused.
Of course, events, workshops or guided tours are also part of a museum, here we are working on new digital formats with the possibility to meet in person, even if only virtually. And of course, there will be the opportunity to meet the museum staff, i.e., our archaeologists, art historians, 3-D specialists, etc. and to learn a lot about their exciting work.
But a museum is also a place of research: again and again, the museum will be enriched by new spectacular 3-D reconstructions of lost or destroyed monuments. So, even if you have visited it once or twice, I hope you will come to realize that it is worthwhile to visit our museum on a regular basis. Did I already point out its ideal opening hours?
You have organized hundreds of exhibitions in actual museums during your long and illustrious career. Are you also planning to present temporary virtual exhibitions in the Virtual Museum?
Yes, of course, I am particularly looking forward to exhibitions: with the virtual museum there are no problems with high transport costs and insurance fees. Virtual exhibitions are therefore particularly sustainable and resource-saving. But here, too, we would like to develop new and innovative formats, e.g., small, concentrated exhibitions that more often ask the question: what can we learn from the past to cope with the present? But don't worry, first and foremost the exhibitions should be fun, the visual experience should be in the foreground!
How would you compare an actual exhibition to a virtual exhibition? Does an exhibition presented virtually have any advantages over a traditional exhibition?
Of course, a virtual exhibition lacks the aura of the original (and the pleasure of drinking a cappuccino together in the museum café after visiting the exhibition), but good virtual exhibitions have the advantage of being able to combine the most unusual objects without regard to conservation conditions. This can often lead to entirely new ideas! And they enable the visitor to discover the artworks at leisure and in detail and from all sides, which is not always possible in the real exhibition world.
And, virtual and analog formats can also complement each other wonderfully; the 3-D reconstruction of the Roman Forum on Yorescape and Rome Reborn can currently be seen on almost 40-meter-long, large-scale photos in the hands-on exhibition “High Tech Romans” at the Landesmuseum Mainz, Germany.

Is there anything else you would like to tell the Flyover Zone community as you start this new chapter in your long career?
Exhibitions and museums are places that you experience together, so I believe that good exhibitions and museums require teamwork. In this respect I am very much looking forward to working with the international team of Flyover Zone, but, of course, I am also eager to receive the reactions and suggestions of our visitors. They should feel free to contact me at: 
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