As museums consider offering a Virtual Tour of their exhibits so that they can play a larger role in education and expand their geographic reach without large capital investment, there is an example of one museum that has gone entirely virtual. That is to say that this museum does not operate in the traditional sense of having open hours for the public to enter and view their exhibits. The exhibits of this museum are accessible on the Web through Internet enabled PC and hand-held devices.
In a recent article in the Museum’s Journal Blog, Rebecca Atkinson writes about her opportunity to have a sneak preview of the new website of the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MoDA). This museum closed its public gallery spaces in October of 2011 and relaunched as an online resource. Exhibitions continue to tour the UK; and visitors are able to request viewing the collections at MoDA’s collections center in north London by appointment.
The challenges MoDA faced, while still a museum in the traditional sense, was the problem of attracting audiences to a relatively inaccessible area on the outer edges of London. This is a challenge that is not specific to only MoDA. Many museums are not easily accessible to the greater public. So, MoDA made the decision to become a Virtual Museum.
We have posted information about the movement of Museums to the Internet providing Virtual Tours of their exhibits. We have discussed at least two reasons that we have seen as motivating museums to offer virtual means for their exhibits to be viewed. But, this is the first museum we became aware of that has gone totally virtual. If there are more stories of museums greatly increasing their utilization of the Web, please let us know by using the Comment field below.