Digitalization endows museum culture with new possibilities
Updated 21:55, 18-May-2020
By Li Qiong

May 18 marks International Museum Day. Digital museums have quickly become a trend, especially as many physical museums remain closed due to the pandemic. It's not just about exhibiting items online, viewers are also able to experience more from museum collections.

Cooperating with more than 300 museums worldwide, Baidu Baike's museum project enables users to appreciate exhibitions from around the world – at their fingertips and for free.

The project's organizers believe that with traditional museums as the foundation, digital ones can provide a unique experience. 

"It breaks the limits of time and space. Through the Internet, everyone can share information online equally and free of charge. Whether you are a child in a mountain area or an old man who is unable to go out, you can access these museums," said Rong Wei, director of BaiduBaike Operation Department.

In addition, new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and 360-degree photos allow online visitors to view exhibits more closely. These technologies are especially important in helping to recreate scenes and art that has already disappeared.

Sagrada Família, a large unfinished Roman Catholic minor basilica in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. /BaiduBaike

Sagrada Família, a large unfinished Roman Catholic minor basilica in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. /BaiduBaike

A special live-streaming series was launched when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. The online tour has shown landmarks in Spain, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, Sweden and China to over 10 million viewers. 

"During the pandemic when everyone was trapped at home, we found that the demand for visiting online exhibitions and museums was very obvious. So we launched a series of live broadcasts of overseas museums. Through online interactions, the viewers showed strong interests in live streaming, so we'll continue to carry out more projects like this in the future," said Rong.

Big data helps to accurately create projects that internet users will find interesting. And AI analysis can also help the development of cultural and creative products.

(Cover: The screenshot of BaiduBaike's museums project video. /BaiduBaike)