In the 21st century, technology has been growing immensely and designers have been exploring new ways to integrate technology into their designs making their work easier while opening new segments for users to engage with the built environment. Buildings and spaces are being reimagined, transformed as per current needs, and being addressed to new generations. However, some buildings such as museums, public libraries, and art galleries have seen a significant decline in footfall. This is because, with the advancing technology, people have lost their interest in having first-hand experiences, being able to take out time and explore or just visit these buildings to understand their past and relate to the history. Despite all these, the thirst for knowledge still exists, and people still want to know the present and future trends and how has the nation evolved over time. Therefore, the answer to this lies in amalgamating the idea of these institutional buildings with technology to cater to present generations by making them more engaging and interactive and retrieving the importance of these buildings and the knowledge it holds by redefining the conventional ways.
This essay revolves around how museums can be elevated with the use of digital technology and upscale the art of storytelling. It will state the various advantages, along with proposing an evolved concept of storytelling that the museums behold.
Since ages, museums are regarded as the guardians of history for storing and preserving objects of cultural, artistic, or scientific significance in the age-old traditions of glass cubicles. Along with artifacts and objects on display, museums encourage people to connect with personal or local stories to understand the context and be able to relate to the past. However, these display systems and storytelling techniques convey information in a very linear way making it a one-time visit for the users. It sometimes lacks the interaction that is needed for users to engage and deeply understand the story behind it. It lacks looking beyond the confined space and connecting globally. Therefore, for most of the time, museums have been considered institutional buildings which display history and have been disdained for their importance and cultural wealth that it brings to the nation. In order to create interest among visitors that extends beyond simply viewing the displayed items, exhibition design should be revaluated with the aid of technology.
In the modern world, technology has enabled people to live fast lives and gain quicker solutions where online platforms have become answers to almost all the needs. People have been driven by online and digital platforms to connect to the world and access information at any given point in time. This creates an opportunity to digitalize museums on online platforms which can then reach numerous people globally by resolving various issues that museums might face during physical exhibitions. Virtual exhibitions are one such revolution in the field of Museums that have upscaled the ideas of an exhibition by going online and being accessible to users globally with numerous innovations over physical exhibitions.
Virtual Exhibitions as the name suggests is an online Web-based hyper-textual dynamic collection devoted to a specific theme, topic, concept or idea. This concept has fulfilled the requirements of a physical exhibition while adding other advantages via technology. With the empowering use of technology, it could regard as an alternative to physical exhibition. This can be achieved with a carefully researched user-centric design that engages the audience by not only showcasing artifacts but with interactives that tell stories and captivates people in different scenarios. It lets the user develop their own understanding in their own time which otherwise sometimes are guided by people in physical exhibition. Moreover, the dynamics of online platforms, provide an opportunity where exhibitions can change as per new design, content, and activities encouraging users to contribute more and more towards it. The artifacts, objects, and stories are captured in high resolution and rendered in 2d and 3d to present to users and provide an experience that is even more dynamic and engaging in nature. Moreover, with the advanced technology graphic, audio, and visual quality can also be enhanced to improve experience and involve various interactions for users to engage with the story and create first-hand experience. This can be achieved through strong storytelling supported by technology which can enable people to empathize and bond with society while inserting their thoughts completing and creating their own unique stories. This will not only establish a deeper understanding but will also create awareness of past, present and future.
Along with this, virtual exhibitions have demonstrated strong solutions against time, distance, and space constraints, unlike physical exhibitions. This is very helpful, especially when today people have limited knowledge about the objects and artifacts displays are unlikely to visit unless it is something that interests them. This will motivate the users to visit the exhibitions virtually and understand the story without being able to take out the designated time. Along with this, the outreach of virtual exhibitions among teens and adults through various online mediums would be very strategic to create curiosity and awareness among them about museums. Furthermore, the virtual exhibitions can be equipped with various activities, short lessons, and other interactions to engage kids and develop it as a learning platform. This will contribute VE to becoming essential educational tools that were earlier just recognized as buildings.
Additionally, the other advantages of digital strategies include adding new products, revamping existing ones, updating products through new materials, generating learning platforms, create online shopping platforms are a few of the many to be named. It also holds the advantage of creating electronic replicas of objects or artifacts that are fragile or sensitive and may be damaged in the physical exhibition. It could serve as an archive for generations to come and becomes permanent documentation to be accessed at any given point in time.
All these advantages have led to redefine museums from just enclosed spaces to outwards looking arenas which are a combination of objects, stories, activities, and a complete narrative for one to imbibe and look beyond. Such a progression will motivate people from all generations to contribute and develop an awareness of different cultures, religions, art, and humankind in general. The various features developed through technology will act as a stepping stone for integrating history as an educational tool that can enable students to develop their fundamental functions. This empowers the role of museums that go beyond building by posing as platforms of knowledge that are not bound by time, space, and distance.
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