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Nowadays, is there anything that doesn’t happen online? For example, telemedicine brings the doctor right to your home, without the need of doing the line at the clinic. Or Robotic Process Automation that uses software to improve the chain of production and any company’s processes. Indeed, technology opened the doors the many worlds and to even more improvements. Now, it’s time to enjoy digital museums.
This is the next step after the introduction of NFTs and online auctions. Through the latest innovations in tech and software, art buffs have a chance to enjoy their favorite exhibits and artists from the comfort of their homes. Of course, even the museums and institutes benefit. How? Let’s take a deep dive into this world.

Digital museums explained

To understand this trend, it’s important to understand these are not simple virtual tours. It’s more than logging into the museum’s website to follow a guided visit or to enjoy the free, online exhibits. Instead, digital museums use both virtual and augmented reality to offer a unique experience.
Specifically, these institutions can gather their favorite non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to curate the perfect, online show. Thanks to the safety of blockchain technology, museums can collect art and then showcase it to the whole world. Like Decentraland, a virtual land that allows users to create a new, digital universe through people’s experiences. There, users can even create workshops, shows, and exhibits. Users of these platforms can charge a fee for the entrance and gather the best digital artwork. However, digital museums don’t only exist in virtual lands.

The Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, offers a virtual volunteers program. The Virtual Information Desk Volunteer welcome in-person visitors as well as online ones, to answer and guide the people through their visit. This way, visitors have a 360° experience, which allows them to participate in the tour, not just walk through it. They can ask questions live to a live and real person, who will answer right away.
Another example is Google Arts and Culture, an app that allows art buffs to explore museums like the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art and to zoom in on the best works of art, like the self-portrait with the monkey of Frida Kahlo. Through this Google app, users can also become the art, thanks to experiences like the Art Selfie to find out “which artwork looks like you.” Just play to find out if you are more Much’s The Scream or like Monet’s lily ponds.
Or perhaps you look like the Mona Lisa. In 2019, the Louvre launched the virtual reality experience “Mona Lisa: Beyond the Glass” with sounds, animated images, and close-ups of the painting. Truly a unique way to experience art.

A pandemic trend

While art has always been part of people’s lives, the Covid pandemic surely accelerated the trend of digital museums. Most of them closed in 2020 and they stayed closed, empty. To survive, these institutions had to find a solution. So, they looked online. Thanks to VR and AR, museums made it through the pandemic. And they gained visitors. In fact, the advantages of digital museums benefit everyone.
The benefits include the extra income for the institutions, that now isn’t limited to offline exhibits. Not only. With digital shows, they can reach more people, even those who usually wouldn’t visit the museums. And, with NFTs, they can reach younger generations, always online. So, there are also benefits for the public. Finally, art isn’t out-of-reach. From Miami, someone can tour the museum of Mexico City. Indeed, endless possibilities.

Why it matters

This is how art stays relevant. Furthermore, it’s how traditional museums survive in the modern era of smartphones and screens. Plus, new museums can be born, filled with digital art and online halls. Why does this trend matter? Because art can enter anyone’s life, now. And improve it too. So, are you more of a lily pad or a Mona Lisa?
Mike Rubini

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Mike Rubini

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