MHTA, Minnesota High Tech Association, New Member Feature, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Mia, Mia from home When you go to an art museum or gallery do you read the descriptions displayed with every piece? Have you ever taken an audio tour of the collection? How close do you get to the statues, and have you viewed them from every angle?

Art, as the saying goes, is subjective, as is our unique approach to viewing it. Whether you’re inclined to stroll through a gallery or spend an entire day examining a handful of pieces, how you choose to observe, study and appreciate art is entirely up to you.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) wants to accommodate every guest on their journey of art discovery, especially in a time when the public can’t view their collection in person. Douglas Hegley, Chief Digital Officer, is committed to providing digital experiences that resonate with Mia’s audiences “When we use digital to connect you with stories that are relevant and engaging, we are able to deliver, surprise and delight, which can really ignite your imagination,” Hegley said.

This is where technology comes into play and it’s one of many reasons why the Minnesota High Tech Association is proud to highlight Mia as this month’s feature Member.

Mia From Home
Last week, amidst the near bombardment of COVID-19 headlines and updates, Mia sent out an email titled: “Mia From Home.” It was an uplifting reminder to art and tech enthusiasts everywhere that a majority of Mia’s 90,000 artworks are readily available online as part of their digital art experience.

“Our goal with Mia From Home is to literally bring as much of the museum experience into peoples’ homes as we possibly can while the physical building is temporarily closed,” said Katie Hill, Head of Engagement Strategy for Mia. “It’s such a great opportunity to showcase the multitude of ways to engage digitally with the art, ideas, and inspiration that we have to offer. Sharing the triumphs of human creativity across time and space has always been central to our mission, and now we have a big moment to do so digitally. None of this replaces the experience of the art in person, but until we can do that again, we’re happy to meet people where they are and offer a beautiful, thought-provoking, entertaining, and/or inspiring experience digitally”

Visitors can explore by collection, navigating the museum’s interactive map room-by-room. Those looking to uncover “hidden gems” and museum highlights can peruse ArtStories for an in-depth, multimedia study of some of Mia’s signature pieces. And if looking at flat images isn’t enough for you, sculpture lovers can view their favorite figures via ultra-high-definition 3D scans, all of which are VR compatible.

Many of the pieces also come with Audio Stops, which essentially act as mini-podcasts that delve into the history, journey and narrative behind these inspiring works of art. Mia takes its online inclusion one step further with a collection of verbal art descriptions for art lovers in the blind or seeing impaired communities.

Gretchen Halverson, Manager of Digital Engagement and Access, said, “Mia at Home presented us with the opportunity to highlight both the richness of our collection, and also the multiple ways we invite visitors to experience it. Digital experiences like Art Stories and 3D object views allow us to highlight objects in ways we’re not always able to do when an object is locked in a case or framed behind a pane of glass. Digital also gives us the opportunity to tell complex stories and share interesting connections. Mia at Home means our visitors have more ways to be inspired, to learn, and hopefully connect with their loved ones and Mia, too.”

Deeper learning and engagement online
The museum may be closed temporarily, but the virtual doors to the digital art experience remain wide open. Now more than ever, many of us are looking for new ways to consume media, engage with culture and explore creative concepts from the comfort and safety of home. Hegley added, “Sharing our collection of art online not only connects the public to the pieces that ignite their curiosity and wonder, it also enables deeper learning through hyperlinking and layered content. With digital access to these historic works, there will always be more to explore and discover, and in this format, new information is only a few clicks away”.

If you’re interested in connecting with Mia, or would like to learn more about their digital experience, you can email Gretchen at

Looking for more ways to engage with Minnesota’s tech leaders? Reach out to MHTA’s Director of Membership and Sponsorship, Ray Hoover at