Virtual Trip：Natural History Museum——London
● How are you interfacing with the museum?
I just use the computer to visit the museum.
● How do you navigate in? What works, what doesn’t?
The virtual museum is supported by the “google art & history”. I just enter into the main entrance without any navigation. They provide different story windows below to navigate visitor to the other room. However, I still contain a big confuse about where I am, where I should go. If they could provide a plan and my position that might be great.
● What’s the atmosphere? Is it photo-real or stylized? Is there video or is it all stills?
I should say a little bit “gloomy” since it is quite empty. However, the view is very real that they 100% and there is no video in the museum.
● What’s the interaction? Is there a one-to-one correspondence with the brick and mortar museum, or is the experience designed specifically as a digital experience? What works for you? What would you change? A memorable object, exhibit, hall or interaction (person-to-person)
There is no one to one correspondence. However, I found an interesting experience that they create an online interactive story to help people explore. They provide 10 themes by the timeline and pick the most represented objects to show the identification of that period. They also integrated sound into design that bring more stimulation to our sense. Instead of just walk around in the museum this approach thinks more about story telling that how to connect all the objects.
● Every place has an emotional, social and intellectual gestalt. Do your best to describe it.
● A word (or two) for its personality?
I used “gloomy” before. First, like what I mentioned before, it is very quiet experience since it is a large space without any person. Also, there is no sound which totally will decrease our sense for the objects. Second, I usually go to museum with my friends and share with them what I like, but when I visit virtually, I only could talk with myself which loss the social experience.
● Is it a social environment (like VR) If so, how do people socialize at the museum?
● If it’s not a social environment, could it be? What would you change to make it a social environment?
I think with the development of the digital technologies, it is very possible to provide an immersive social environment. Maybe people could build an online chat room when they stand in front of some objects, and they could chat with each other. The more interesting approach might be providing an VR multi-player online experience that we could see the other people’s avatars in the museum and chat with them.
● Spend a few minutes on the actual museum’s website.
Museum’s website: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit.html
I do not think the website is “feel” like it’s specific to the museum. First, there are too many information on one page which is hard to find the essential parts. Second, there are less information about the content of the museum.
I think the virtual museum loss many learning experience. We are always “receiving” instead of “exploring”, “discovering” … We just read what we see, but we have no choice to question, discuss.
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