Efforts made to attract public to museums

Sunday, 2021-10-17 13:24:57
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Visitors are searching information at the Southern Women's Museum. (Photo: VNA)
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NDO – COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing periods have caused many museums nationwide to find adaptation measures, especially the application of technological advances to organise “virtual” museums and exhibitions via digital platforms to promote the heritages’ values.

Vietnam Fine Arts Museum has launched a free virtual 3D Tour. Meanwhile, the Vietnam National Museum of History has held a 3D virtual interactive exhibition themed "National Treasure”. These are really great efforts by the museums to attract visitors during the social distancing days. The audios, records, images, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies have helped viewers enter the virtual space and interact more with the photos, artifacts and documents displayed at the exhibitions.

However, the attraction of “virtual” museums is still very limited. The experts said that the digitised data and documents must be unique and diverse. In addition, the tours to “virtual” museums should be also enough attractive to get visitors to sit in front of computers and phone screens for hours. However, it is not easy to achieve the above factors.

The effective development of displayed exhibits via digital technology apps is a challenge for the museum industry. For example, many artifacts and documents are valuable in terms of history and culture but have little aesthetic or artistic value, so it is difficult to make them attractive via 3D and 4D “virtual” technology.

Digital technology has been increasingly developing; meanwhile, the database storage platform, technical infrastructure (internet), the investment funds for preparation of contents and digitalisation of documents and artifacts, and human resources in Vietnamese museums are still very limited. They keep a large number of antiquities and artifacts with high cultural and historical values; however, the operation of “virtual” museums requires qualified personnel who have high absorbability and understanding of technological trends. Almost all museums currently lack these human resources. The operating cost of the system is also a factor that has caused many museums, even large-scale ones, to be afraid of it.

After all, technology is just a tool to convey the contents and the effectiveness and attractiveness of exhibits to the public. If the contents are poor, the application of technological advances cannot guarantee the vividness and attractiveness as the viewers will be bored if they watch a content and experience an app for a long time. Not to mention, the "virtual" display technology will quickly become obsolete due to the rapid development of new technologies. In the case that the museums’ technology partners no longer operate, the technology products would become useless, even "technological waste", and the museums would have to “handle” them. Therefore, they should carefully consider their investment in developing “virtual” museums. It is easy to understand why the number of museums with 3D virtual tour experiences and online programmes that can "hold" viewers for more than 30 minutes, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

It can be seen that the collection of entrance fees from digital exhibitions, online exhibitions and “virtual” museums is a far-fetched story. In order to collect entrance fees from virtual exhibitions, the museums must have sources of unique, interesting, profound and vivid documents and artifacts. Their websites and online platforms must be completed so professionally that they can satisfy viewers. Importantly, their contents must be truly attractive, different and exclusive.

Obviously, "virtual" museums cannot replace the real ones. The museums express the culture and history of a land or a country more broadly. Therefore, tourists still want to come there to admire and access the images dedicated to the past to learn more about the history and culture of a locality and a nation. The real display of objects in museums has a special significance that cannot be replaced by any other forms or methods because they bring a different range of emotions, historical feelings, pride and patriotism to viewers. Therefore, the application of technological apps in “virtual” exhibitions should be in harmony with real displays. The “virtual” museums aim to lead and attract the public to the real museums.