International Museum Day: how digital technology empowers museums

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“Museums have the power to transform the world around us,” the International Council of Museums (ICOM) said of the theme for International Museum Day 2022. The day, titled “The Power of Museums,” falls on May 18.

Offline museums around the world have faced unprecedented challenges under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but people’s desire for museums has not waned.

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More and more Chinese are choosing to visit museums online. While people are advised to stay at home despite COVID-19 surges, virtual exhibits and online experiences developed by museums allow people to experience the charm of museums thousands of miles away.

A screenshot from the Sanxingdui Museum official website. /Sanxingdui Museum

A screenshot from the Sanxingdui Museum official website. /Sanxingdui Museum

Sanxingdui Museum in Guanghan, southwest China’s Sichuan Province, for example, held its opening ceremony online and held virtual exhibitions last year due to pandemic prevention and control measures. Within an hour of the online opening ceremony, about 160,000 people viewed the exhibit online, according to Zhu Yarong, deputy curator of the museum.

A screenshot of the Virtual Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, in Beijing. /The Palace Museum

A screenshot of the Virtual Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, in Beijing. /The Palace Museum

The Beijing Palace Museum has attempted to bring its centuries-old buildings back to life through innovative technology. Since 2018, the museum’s digital and information department has been working with professional mapping teams to collect location information of more than 600 buildings, exhibition halls and service facilities in the open area of ​​the Palace Museum, and has launched a mini program using GPRS navigation technology. , LBS positioning technology and 360 degree panoramic technology. The program, now called “Open Wisdom”, has been constantly updated to improve the user experience.

A screenshot of the Cultural Relics Collection on the Palace Museum website. /The Palace Museum

A screenshot of the Cultural Relics Collection on the Palace Museum website. /The Palace Museum

“When exhibitions are no longer limited to physical collections and digitization realizes the link between online and offline, such technological empowerment is full of positive energy,” said Zheng Yi, curator of the University of Beijing’s museum. Fudan. The greatest contribution of museums’ digital efforts is to empower institutions to transcend the boundaries of time and space and provide educational opportunities for all, provide more people with access to the arts, Zheng added.

Due to the 2020 pandemic, museums across the country have launched more than 2,000 online exhibits, attracting more than 5 billion visits, according to Xinhuanet. More and more museums are using online methods to attract visitors of all ages.

(Cover image designed by Jia Jieqiong)

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