Explore the world of Bernheim Forest through Minecraft

By bernheim

Virtual world features Bernheim art installations, familiar trails, and more

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is now available for visitation on the popular virtual building game Minecraft.

As part of a 2016 Artist in Residence project, artists used Minecraft as a medium and the natural world as their muse to create Bernheim-inspired worlds within the sandbox video game.

The Common People, a family of three from England comprised of Adam Clarke, Victoria Bennett and their son, Django Moses, took part in this first-of-its-kind residency that challenged the conventional wisdom that digital play and nature play are mutually exclusive. During their 2016 residency, they created a series of Bernheim maps titled Wood and Pixels, but due to Minecraft developments, the maps quickly became outdated.

Bernheim Arts in Nature Curator Jenny Zeller reawakened the project in early 2020 and has worked with The Common People to update the maps. The new version is available for free download to players around the globe and allows them to enjoy the wonders of Bernheim in Minecraft. With Wood and Pixels, players can explore a range of locations within Bernheim, including Rock Run Loop, The Fire Tower, and Earth Measure.

“We’re pleased to announce that the maps have been converted to the latest version of Minecraft so that people can play it on an array of devices including PCs, tablets and consoles like Xbox, PS4, Kindle and Nintendo Switch,” Zeller said. “They also created a Minecraft Educational Edition including special features and additional learning materials, making it an excellent resource for teachers and students. We are excited that people can experience Bernheim in a totally different and novel way, especially as we are currently closed to the public.”

For four decades, Bernheim’s Artist in Residence program has annually awarded artists the opportunity to live and create art inspired by their total immersion experience at Bernheim. Throughout 2020, Bernheim is recognizing 40 years of this internationally renowned program that allows its visitors to experience nature in a new way while enhancing awareness of Bernheim’s mission of connecting people with nature through the lens of art.

The Common People called the Bernheim Artist in Residence program “an amazing experience for us, as artists and as a family.” They stated: “Wood and Pixels expresses the joy and inspiration that we discovered during our stay at Bernheim, and we are delighted to be able to share that with even more people now. As social distancing impacts our daily lives, Minecraft provides a great digital refuge for our young people to meet, learn, and explore. Our Minecraft world, Wood and Pixels, enables young people and families to visit, explore, and learn about the inspiring natural spaces of Bernheim in a fun and accessible way, even if they can’t get there in person.”

A link to the Wood and Pixels downloads and a video tutorial on how to install can be accessed at Bernheim.org/minecraft.

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