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Is the future of museum online and what might a virtual museum look like?


Text by Carly Straughan (https://www.museumnext.com/article/is-the-future-of-museums-online/)

An online museum could improve access to the collections the museum is caring for, allowing people to find exhibitions that truly speak to them regardless of location and make links between artefacts held by museums and galleries on opposite sides of the world.

Could online museums help preserve our artefacts better?

The V&A, London is home to the Ardabil carpet which is lit for only 10 minutes of each hour to allow visitors to see it without destroying the carpets rich colors and fine textures. The inclusion of the carpet in the online museum collection allows for more time to explore the carpet in close proximity which would never be possible in real life. This limited light for physical visitors combined with its online presence means it can be preserved for future generations and still be enjoyed by visitors today.

Content for everyone, everywhere

With the improvement in virtual reality we have seen in the past few years it’s not too far-fetched to think of a future where virtual schools trips are taken by children wearing VR equipment in their classroom, where you could build your own virtual museum and include your favourite artworks and artefacts from various collections in one place and feel like you are walking around the real, or imagined, museum in real time.

In 2013, the National Museum of Australia  trialed a virtual museum tour which allowed online visitors to control a robot equipped with camera, speaker and microphone and follow museum guides around the museum at their own pace. This new way of allowing remote visitors to interact with the museum online proved particularly popular with school children spread out all across Australia. 

In April this year, Buddha Museum has partnered with Google Arts & Culture and launched an online exhibit. Online visitors can take a virtual tour of Buddha Museum and visit some of its exhibitions with Google Street View, and more than 130 images and videos are shown on the websites. Besides Buddha Museum Google Arts & Culture, there are also AR videos and audio tours available on the official website of the museum. By using the AR app of Buddha Museum with a smart phone, online users can easily scan the photo to see an introductory video of the place on their own device. In addition, the Buddha Museum launched a new 360-degree VR online tour of the exhibition “Buddhist Treasures from Shanghai Museum” , whereby 284 pieces of rare archeological discoveries are put on display. 

Buddha Museum official website: http://www.fgsbmc.org.tw/en/index.aspx

Buddha Museum AR videos: http://www.fgsbmc.org.tw/en/info_attractions.html

Buddha Museum Audio tours: http://www.fgsbmc.org.tw/info_move.html

Buddha Museum on Google Arts & Culture: http://lnago.com/ADO3L

360-degree VR tour of "Buddhist Treasures from Shanghai Museum": http://lnago.com/ADO54

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