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Treasured Blog: Museums Edition

3 reasons why it’s time for museums to go digital

Most of us are familiar with the in-person experience of a museum exhibit. Moving from room to room examining carefully selected objects, and reading displays that weave together an overarching story. Museum exhibitions offer us a perspective of art, or a glimpse into our past. They provide an opportunity to reflect on our own ideas and impressions.

There’s something special about the in-person experience of a museum exhibit. And now, the power of technology is making that experience accessible in new and exciting ways. Since the coronavirus lockdowns of March 2020, technology has helped people all over the world communicate, learn, shop, and work, all from the comfort of their own homes. Now, thanks to digital collections and exhibitions, visiting a museum can be done from home, too.  

Here are 3 reasons why it’s time for museums to go digital.

1. Virtual storytelling enhances the museum experience 

The technology required for virtual storytelling was at one time expensive and complicated to implement. Today, that’s no longer the case. Technology is becoming more affordable, and is increasingly user friendly. 

Tools like 3D, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) give museums the opportunity to bring collections to life through immersive experiences of visual content. VR can be used to create museum tours, or add interactivity to exhibits. It can also enable curators to present an object in context.

For example, in 2018, the National Museum of Finland offered a VR exhibit that allowed visitors to “step inside” a painting. Using a VR headset, visitors found themselves immersed within a painting by R.W. Ekman painting, where they could look around in 3D and interact with the characters depicted. 

A curator can showcase content with the goal of making an exhibit fully accessible online, or to provide extra opportunities for museum visitors to engage with the exhibit’s information in an online format. This can be done through content publishing tools that enable museums to add web-based interactivity to their exhibits. 

With virtual storytelling tools ranging from VR to online content, museums have the ability to elevate and enhance the experience of an exhibition.

2. An opportunity to share valuable objects of cultural heritage

Most museums display only a small part of their collection. For example, The Louvre has only about 8% of it’s works available for public viewing. Typically, major museums around the world hide masterpieces away from the public to keep them secure and well preserved. With virtual showcasing tools, these masterpieces can be made viewable online for all to see.

Digital tools make objects, artifacts, and images that are high risk presentable to the public in various ways. There’s the option to make 3D models of objects that can then be interacted with online. For example, in 2017 the British Museum released a 3D scan of the Rosetta Stone, which continues to give people from all over the world a close up view of the ancient relic online. 

Content publishing tools allow museums to share collections that are in storage, with contextual information. Through images and text, museum goers can engage with these unseen collections online. Through virtual offerings, museums can expand their reach and make valuable objects more accessible to the public.

3. Virtual museums add accessibility

One of the greatest benefits of virtual museums is the fact that a museum’s location does not constrain visitors. Museums worldwide that offer digital tours, shows, and exhibitions allow visitors to immerse themselves in their collections regardless of location and geographical boundaries. This opens up doors for remote communities, or people who are simply curious about museums that are in different countries.

With virtual reality equipment becoming more economical, schools will soon be able to use VR headsets to take students on virtual schools trips to museums around the world. This accessibility fosters inclusivity too. Elderly people, people with limited mobility, or people living with disability can use technology to experience exhibitions with ease. 

And in times when museums must close, like during the coronavirus lockdowns, virtual museums provide an alternative method of access. With virtual storytelling, museums can share their exhibitions through content publishing tools that can be shared easily across all types of devices. For example, Treasured’s content publishing tools can make an exhibition about the history of Canadian train travel viewable from anywhere, on mobile, tablet, or desktop.

Now is the time to embrace virtual museum tools

Coronavirus has reinforced the importance of future-proofing and technology. It’s clear that museums must create a sustainable future that not only secures their core assets and collections, but ensures the museum is relevant and accessible to future generations. 

Younger generations, like Generation Z, have grown up digitally native. This means that for up and coming museum goers, digital offerings will only become more and more crucial. And, virtual museums provide further benefits like and enhanced experience, the ability to share unseen collections, and global accessibility. 

Are you ready to bring your exhibit online?

Museums can use Treasured to amplify the user experience through digital content. Book a Demo to learn about Treasured’s products, and features like branding, user engagement, and analytics.