The British Museum has announced a new partnership with Google’s Cultural Institute to allow many objects in the museum to be viewed online. Using similar technology that is used in Google maps, visitors from all over the world will be able to virtually walk through the permanent galleries of the British Museum thanks to the innovative indoor Street View footage. The British Museum is the largest space to be captured on indoor Street View and over 4,500 objects and artwork will be available to view.
In addition, there will be specially curated virtual exhibits have been developed for the partnership– at launch these include Celtic life in Iron Age Britain, a tour of Celtic material from collections across the UK and an exploration of the main themes of the British Museum’s exhibition Egypt: faith after the pharaohs.
The partnership also means that one of the British Museum’s most important Chinese scrolls – the Admonitions Scroll dating from the 6th-century – can now be viewed in never before seen definition thanks to Gigapixel technology, a powerful zoom functionality which has enabled the highest ever resolution image of the object. Due to the fragile nature of the scroll it is only ever available to view for a few months of the year. Now the scroll will be visible online, in amazing detail, all year round.
Since the Google Cultural Institute was launched in 2011, they have worked with museums, foundations and archives and now have 800 partners from over 60 countries making cultural and historical material accessible online.
In many ways this news represents a major advance for online collections, the ability to curate virtual exhibitions offers an opportunity for a wider range of people to explore and enjoy specific areas of collections, fragile items can be explored in minute detail and the availability of a wide range of objects offers massive educational opportunities.
If you would like a virtual walk through the British Museum, visit the Google Institute website here
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