Museum: Second Life

This material is also available on the Exploratorium Museums on the Web Wiki

What is Second Life?

What Computers can Run Second Life?

Second Life is free to explore but there are costs to own land

The Splo Museum and the Exploratorium

Museums on the Web Papers.

Getting Started

Introductory Videos

Museums and Science Places to visit

Learn How to Build

Learn how to texture

Learn How to Script

Find Objects/Scripts/Textures for sale or free

Owning Land in Second Life

Developers in Second Life

The Book of Second Life

Video Tutorials on how to do things in Second Life



What is Second Life?

Second Life is sometimes called a massive multiplayer online role playing game MMORPG or, if you prefer, a virtual world. As of April 2007 about 5 million people have visited second life. You will find about 40,000 of them online at any one time.

What computers can run Second Life?

To visit the metaverse, i.e. the world of Second Life go to and load a client application onto your computer. To have the best experience in second life you will need a modern(less than 3 year old) computer with a lot of RAM (500 Meg for a PC and 768 Meg for a MAC) and a good video card. Here is a list of what your computer will need to run second life. The usual problem when a computer will not run second life is the graphics card, find out what graphics card your computer uses and compare it with the list of graphics cards at the above website.

Second Life is free to Explore but there are costs to own land.

You can enter this world for free, design a three dimensional avatar then explore the world.

If you wish to create new experiences for others to explore and have these experiences persist in the world, then you will have to pay for land by purchasing it or renting it or join a group which allows you to use their land. To purchase land you must buy a membership in second life. When you purchase land you have to pay a continuing fee known as "Tier" to maintain ownership.

Some islands will not let you enter unless you have a credit card on file. You do not have to pay anything, the credit card just serves to establich your identity. Island owners find that peopple who are not anonymous cause less trouble.

The Splo Museum and the Exploratorium

As of April 2007 very few real life museums have established a presence in Second Life. the Exploratorium is one of the few represented by its sister museum the Splo which has been in second life for one year.

Addresses in Second life are given as the name of a region or sim such as Midnight City, followed by three metric coordinates between 0 and 255. The first coordinate is for east-west, the second north south and the third up-down.

The 'Splo is in Midnight City (175,60,26)

And a new larger Splo is on its own Island, EastLandTwo (175,75,25)

The 'Splo in the ever-dark Midnight City

Together with demarco Spatula, Emileigh Starbrook and Treat Luke I create and collect exhibits that allow people to have fun exploring science. In the museum there are science exhibits, many perceptions exhibits and some art exhibits too, plus more than a little humor.

The inside of the Splo showing many exhibits.

The Exploratorium uses this world for science teaching and to bring science to people from all over the world. We streamed video of the 2006 eclipse in Turkey into Second Life and also coverage of the 2006 transit of Mercury.

The Exploratorium is building on X Island 128,128,26.

#5Museums on the Web papers

Here is a link to the paper on Museums in Second life by Rob Rothfarb and Paul Doherty

You can find an excellent article giving an overview of museum like activities currently being carried out in Second Life titled: A Second Life for Your Museum: 3D Multi-User Virtual Environments and Museums by Richard Urban here

Getting Started before the Conference

Basic suggestion

Go to download the second life software onto your computer and sign up for a free membership.

Create an avatar and go through orientation island.

Visit the New Citizens Incorporated Island which has free clothing, and skins and instructions for beginners, as well as a sandbox in which you may create objects.
Kuula 54,175, 29

Visit some of the museum locations below.

Introductory videos

You may also want to watch some introductory videos by the NMC, and by NOAA

NOAA Movie

NMC Movie Seriously Engaging quicktime, many formats.

Museums and Scxience Places to Visit in Second Life

The 'Splo Midnight City 175,60,26, A sister museum to the Exploratorium.
The "Splo Island, EastLandTwo 175,75,25
Have a look around Midnight City while you are at the Splo, notice the shops.

The International Spaceflight Museum, a museum of spacecraft and rocketry.
Spaceport Alpha 48, 78, 24

The Second Louvre, a museum of art in Second Life, Tompson 153, 97, 100

The Sci-Fi Museum displays items in a Holodeck, Indigo 75, 213, 22

The NMC campus, The campus is studded with art., NMC Campus 69,123,2

The Planetarium, Midnight City 93, 78, 27

Second Life Historical Museum, Phobos 203, 169, 42

The Infinite Mind Museum The Infinite Mind 132, 201,37

A list of art museums and galleries in Second Life

Science Places in Second Life

NOAA Meteroa an island full of interactive experiences about climate change.
Meteroa 116,143,54

NPL The national Physical Laboratory, England, Info Island II 104, 203, 24

Second Life Science Center, Info Island II 114,201,25

Artificial Life an evolving ecosystem

The Library of Second Life

Information Island libraries, Info Island 52 74 33

Universities in Second Life

Elon, Great Mathematics exhibits! The Game of Life, ants by E.O. Wilson, Buffon's needles and more search the map for Elon, Map>Elon>teleport.

Science School, University of Denver, Map>Science School>teleport

The listing of science places is maintained by Troy Mcluhan and is published every week in the SLED Picayune


Try the Garden of Apollo or the Ball Room at Avalon Mist also the Isle of Wyrms

Learn how to build

Objects in second life are built from primitives which are called prims.

The Ivory Tower Library of Primitives Natoma (210,164,27) the classic place to learn to build at your own pace.

Prim summary

Take building classes, go to Search>events>education you will find many classes on how to build.

Here is my web page explaining how to build a simple exhibit, a pi glass,

Pi Glass Building

Museum Graphics in Second Life

You can make a sign by going into build then place text and images which you have created as a jpeg or even better a tga on the sign.

You can also have the exhibit give a notecard when it is touched, see the Pi Glass instructions above.

The notecard will contain text, it can also give an image to the viewer. The notercard can give another notecard to allow the viewer to access deeper information. It can give landmarks that send the viewer to other locations. It can also give a URL to send the viewer to the web.

Learn how to texture

Texture Tutorial, Benten 23,112,28

Tutorial: Creating Textures with Transparency Using Adobe Photoshop CS

Learn how to Script

Script School

Self paced scripting lessons provided by Bromley College Daydream SE Islands 222,35,23

Go to the help menu and click on scripting wiki i.e. Help>scripting wiki

or go here directly


Find Objects/Scripts/textures for free or for sale

The following two stores feature large selections of objects textures and scripts for sale.

Many are featured for free or for very low prices.

The Second Life Exchange

The Second Life Boutique



Owning Land in Second Life

To display objects that you build in second life you must own or rent or be given land or belong to a group with land.

Land in Second Life is space on a server. If you want to own an island you will have to pay a set-up fee and a monthly fee as well. For a non-profit an island costs $980 to set up and $150 a month rent. For this you get a square of land 256 m square. Which you can build on up to an elevation of 768 m. One island will allow you to build objects containing up to 15,000 prims. The nanotechnology island built one exhibit showing the atomic construction of an HIV molecule, this one molecule required 11,000 prims. Artists have built amazing art with a single prim.

Here is the pdf booklet describing details of land ownership in SL.

Private Estate Guide 2006

Once you own land you might like to provide audio to people who are visiting, here is information on how to do that.

How to add streaming audio to your land

How to teleport between sims in Second Life

Click on the map button at the bottom of the page, type the sim name in the search box then click teleport: Map>search>teleport

You can also find a place or an event in Second Life using the search button. When you find a place there will be a teleport button. click it.


Developers in Second Life

You may want to employ a developer to help you build your museum in Second Life.

Linden Labs keeps a list of developers, you may also choose to ask other museums to recommend developers they have worked with.

Developers in Second Life, the official list



Second Life The Official Guide, Michael Rymaszewski et. al. Wiley 2007


Video Tutorials

These are a great way to learn about how to do things in SL. by Torley Linden

the same videos are available here

 Current tutorials made by Torley

Another group of video tutorials has been created by CTER

Here is the index of these tutorials developed by Doe-Hyung Kim


Using Groups for Second Life Education

Some basic ways to use groups for education.

A HUD introducing new teachers to Second Life (HUD heads up display) 






Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty

© 2007

21 March 2007