Digitising History

Digitising History

History is a wonderful thing. It is the foundation of our lives on this Earth, the paths we walked and the lessons learned so that we could evolve into the species we are today. However, many of these fantastic tales of days gone by are locked away in museums with only the people lucky enough to be able to visit them being able to truly immersive themselves in the past. While these museums are a safe place for these extraordinary artefacts to be held, it is often the case that many people cannot view them as they simply do not have the means to visit these places as they are on the other side of the world meaning that they are missing out on these relics and stories from the past.

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This has begun to change though with the introduction of online resources from Google and other large institutions to bring museums to life on an online platform. An example of this is the Google Cultural Institute, which allows users to view a large number of art pieces, exhibits, videos about exhibits and it even allows you to take full tours of famous museums from all over the world at your own pace using the same kind of technology featured in Google Street View (Google Cultural Institute, 2016). This allows the user to one minute be exploring the Tate art museum in London and then the next be at the Natural History Museum in New York. This freedom allows users to visit a wide range of exhibits in a short space of time without ever leaving their home. Thus, providing people with the opportunity to visit the museums and exhibits they’d loved to have visited in the past but never had the chance.

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Another endeavour similar to that of the Google Cultural Institute is the Smithsonian’s own digitisation of their museum in Washington DC which allows you to explore current exhibits along with past ones (Natural History, 2016). Therefore giving the user the opportunity to view things they may have missed while the artefacts were being held in this institution. These digitised tours allow the user to also visit storage centers where old bones and test products are stored along with the Smithsonian laboratories offering an extra insight that you wouldn’t normally see on a normal guided tour.

These are only a couple of examples of the fantastic way in which our past is being digitised so that it can be brought into the future and explored in new exciting ways. While visiting the actual museum would always be preferable, this gives you a fantastic alternative if this is not available to you. It’s clear that this type of platform will only improve as time moves on.

Bibliography;

  • Google Cultural Institute (2016). Google Arts & Culture. Available at: https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/ [Accessed 17 October 2016].
  • Natural History (2016). National Museum of Natural History. Available at: http://naturalhistory.si.edu/VT3/NMNH/z_NMNH-016.html [Accessed 17 October 2016].

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