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Digital Tech Allows Virtual Tour of Taiwan’s Museum

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tainan branch of the National Museum of Prehistory (NMP) had a temporary closure. To provide more ways for people to view exhibitions, the Museum of Archaeology collaborates with the Cultural Heritage Research and Innovation Center of the Tainan National University of the Arts (TNNUA) to launch a Multi-Route Audio-Visual Guidance system (MR360) for people who are confined to their homes.

MR360 is a display interface that equips with the technique of a 360-degree immersive view of the exhibition hall, which offers a virtual tour of the Museum of Archaeology. Additionally, viewers can enjoy personalised tours by making use of the audio touring system, they can click on the exhibits to choose what they want to listen to during their visit in the virtual galleries. It will lead visitors to understand Taiwan’s prehistory through archaeological findings.

Furthermore, in light of the pandemic, the special exhibition titled “Joining Hands with the Pingpu Peoples: An Exhibition of the Siraya, the Makatao, and the Taivoan Peoples in the Southern Part of Taiwan” has been shifted online, viewers can make use of the MR360 system to view the exhibition virtually.

The use of digital technology optimised the museum services to achieve the goal of being a cultural hub for the public. The museum hopes that the value-added service of the digital innovation will continue to bring more development possibilities for the museum in the post-epidemic era.

According to a paper, in the current age of information, digitalisation, democratisation, and globalisation, technology has changed people’s habits to expect immediately accessible information. As the treasure houses of art and artefacts, museums have evolved with the times to establish their presence and accessibility in the information age, digitising their collection from which new exhibition formats and museum experiences can be created.

Taiwan’s museums have transformed from an object-oriented repository to an increasingly open, public, and participatory social space. Digital transformation in its institutional infrastructure, public service framework and ideological self-concept has opened a whole new dimension of museum experiences. In the digital dimension, technologies such as mobile applications, interactive tabletops, virtual reality, and smart glasses have the power to enliven a static exhibition with an array of stimulating sounds, images, and videos.

Aided by digital media, exhibitions can now present source materials from a variety of viewpoints and create multi-layered activities to engage visitors. Such a degree of depth and involvement creates more enjoyable and more memorable exhibition experiences. Applications of creative technology have become one of the museum’s core tasks in the digital age.

New technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), ML, Virtual Reality (VR), and wearable devices have been widely applied in Taiwan’s museums. Commercial and research investigations need to develop technology support systems such as multimedia guides by handheld or wearable devices, art authentication, and recommendation systems according to customer’s preferences. AI has been utilised in different ways to accomplish fundamental tasks, including art authentication, commercial recommendations, guiding, three-dimensional virtual reality, data analysis, ticketing, and museum layout.

As parts of an effort to digitalise museums, Taiwan’s Open Museum utilises digital technology to collect and convert research materials, as reported by OpenGov Asia. It is also able to shift back and forth between real and virtual through interdisciplinary multimedia.

The Open Museum also emphasises the building of collections, striving to assemble digital objects that are visible (large resolution) and usable. Through the “Treasure Hunt Challenge” event, the Open Museum has added over 17,400 new collection objects. In total, it has currently gathered a total of over 147,000 collection objects.

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