First Videogames Added to Smithsonian Museum’s Permanent Collection

Flower Screen

Flower and Halo 2600 become permanent examples of art in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Thegamecompany’s Flower and Ed Fries’ homebrew Halo 2600 aren’t new to the Smithsonian American Art Museum, but instead of being temporary house guests, now the two games are a permanent part of the family. The museum announced the acquisitions on Tuesday.

Flower and Halo 2600 were a part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Art of Video Games Exhibit, and the two games were on loan to the museum for exhibit visitors to experience. They will both still be available to play in the museum. Because Flower was distributed digitally only, developers Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago arranged for the museum to receive a copy of the game on a Blu-ray disc to go along with the museum’s acquisition of a few PS3s.

Curator of film and media art Michael Mansfield of the Smithsonian American Art Museum said the PS3 consoles will “live with the artwork in perpetuity and be cared for along with the museum’s other electronic artworks.” Fries had already sold Halo 2600 as Atari cartridges, which the museum was able to acquire.

“Video games represent a vast, diverse and rapidly evolving new genre that is crucial to our understanding of the American story,” Mansfield said. Flower and Halo 2600 are the beginning to the museum’s hopes for investigating the material science of video games and developing best practices for digital preservation of games’ source code.

The Art of Video Games exhibition began in 2012 and will continue through 2016 as a 10-city national tour. The exhibit is currently touring the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY.

Source: Smithsonian via Gamasutra

About the author