For this assignment, I looked at a virtual museum tour from The Natural History Museum located in London, UK. This specific virtual tour guides virtual audiences through the museum’s tank room wherein various wet specimen collections are kept. Immediately, at the first glance, audiences are given the opportunity to engage in a 360 degrees view of the tank room while Oliver Crimmen, the museum’s Senior Curator of Fish, is giving a presentation. The tank room is one of the only wet specimen collection spaces in the world that has its collections stored in a way wherein they are on full display. Audience members interact with the virtual media space by scrolling down the interface to read descriptions of various collections kept within the tank room. 

 In the middle of the room is an elongated custom-built tank housing the alcohol-preserved 8.62-meter-long giant squid, Archie. Archie is a specimen that was immediately frozen after being caught alive and had provided DNA samples for researchers to determine that there are only one species of giant squid. The tank room also houses specimens collected by Charles Darwin, which are kept in a locked cabinet. Specimens within the tank room consist of various animals ranging from sea creatures to reptiles, and to mammals. 

This virtual tour of the tank room does achieve its goal of providing audiences with knowledge on how the museum collects, stores, and maintains its collections. At the end of the virtual tour, audiences are provided a link to book an in-person forty-five-minute tour of the tank room with the museum. This media definitely achieved its goal of operating as both an informational session and as a means for the museum to attract more visitors. The issue surrounding the preservation and maintenance of this virtual tour mainly include ensuring information from the media is kept up to date and the potential misuse of information by audiences. 

My question is what is your favorite type of museum media (e.g., virtual tours, digitally able to search collections of a museum, etc) and why?

Photo of Charles Darwin’s collection by the courtesy of The Natural Museum

2 Thoughts to “Digital Media”

  1. Michelle Barbieri

    I would have to say that I like using both virtual tours and data collections, mainly because I get to see the object as shown in the actual exhibit and learn some of the details of the pieces.

  2. Kai Doak

    I love being able to explore the exhibits as if I was really there, going room to room with videos, pictures, and sounds is ideal to me! But being able to visit in person always makes for a better experience.

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