As museums continue to compete with other leisure and recreational facilities, the museum experience may be declining in popularity. Museum staffs are coming up with more innovative and technological ways off getting people into the museum doors. The online virtual tour has made its presence in the museum world, allowing more people to see exclusive famous works of art. Europeana has uploaded a 2-minute video showing its latest technology, the Oculus Rift, which is still being perfected for public usage. An oculus’ head-mounted display is placed on a viewer’s head, allowing them the opportunity to tour a 3D model of the fictional EUseum. Virtual museums would be built, using existing museums as inspiration. Collections of your choice can be created, allowing everyone the chance to curate their own show. All this can be done from the comforts of your home. The device’s projected cost is around $300, which is pretty affordable when you consider the cost of traveling from United States to Europe to see the famous Mona Lisa.
The kid in me jumps with excitement at the thought of fancy futuristic headgear allowing me the chance to travel the world to see amazing artwork, but the artist in me frowns at the idea that people may never see my work or any other artist’s work in public. Although the Oculus Rift would allow people the chance to view artwork they may never have financial been able to see, I fear that people may no longer feel the need to see the work in person. Lines are being blurred in terms of real world experiences and virtual experiences. There would be no reason to see art in person if you could access it anywhere, anytime, especially if there are other more affordable ways to view the work. So how can museums provide access to their collections without relying on technology? Could the Oculus Rift actually save the museum and help get more people interested in the museum experience? Can museums survive in a technology driven society? If so, how does it compete with other recreational institutions?
Personally, I feel that the museum can survive today, but it would inevitably have to compete with other leisure opportunities that technology provides us with. Only time will tell what will become of the Oculus Rift.
Here is a link if you are curious to know more about the Oculus Rift an its function.