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Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra

Museums or Online?

I was writing a little description for one of my beloved pieces – doting on various aspects, discovering new elements that I had not noticed before and in general giving it all my love.

At the end of those wonderful moments, I blessed the creator – and wished her happy times in heaven … for that is where she probably is after all the good karma of creating such beauty that’s lasted over a hundred years.

And then, I concluded the description in my notes as with ‘Perfect for Museums’ ….

And that sounded incorrect!

A physical museum seems to be inadequate in terms of reaching the object to  viewers.

For many reasons.

Firstly, a museum has a very local reach. Even in major world-cities like Singapore – the maximum reach is 20 million. This includes 100% of the residents 5.7 mn and 100% of the tourists that visit every year. Whereas there is no limit to the reach of non-controversial websites on the internet.

In both cases, in order to arrive at a “estimated maximum reach”, one must factor in the investment of time and effort one must make to make a visit assuming one is interested in the subject. Then add in the numbers that might stumble in and that unintended visit might spark an interest.

My guess is that over time, physical real museums might lose out to virtual museums on this number!

The argument that ‘in a museum one can experience the real thing’. That ‘real experience’ is really of low value as most museum objects are placed a few feet away from the viewer and are covered up in bad glass that creates reflections ….

Further, online, one gets to see details of highlighted portions to which attention has been drawn in separate photographs that can be magnified to larger than life scales!

Of late, having been spoilt by online shopping, I find myself hungry for more in real museums!

So if the mission of the museum is to showcase a rare piece for the benefit of most viewers, then online virtual museums  or galleries will be the more effective alternative.

Most of the notable museums have a virtual collection too, but for technical inadequacies, their objects never show up in any google search results.

Anyhow, a museum’s mission to save and preserve  rare objects is important – perhaps more than giving visitors viewing pleasure….

So I guess it is okay for me to describe a rare object as “Perfect for Museums”….

 

midnight rantings…..may 2018

jm

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