Virtual reality museums take art to the next level

Published on January 12th, 2019 by Debi Christensen

Virtual reality museums may make you think twice about how you view art.

It didn’t used to be that way. There was a time when visitors queued up at the entrance of a building housing fine works of art. The idea was simple. The museum curated artifacts in the form of textiles, statues, and 2D art like paintings and drawing. They sorted cultural evidence. Then they arranged it in rooms, halls, and along mezzanines.

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And that practice was very last-century.

In the last two years alone, virtual reality museums have become a hot topic in the art world. Museum curators were quick to recognize VR for its ability to immerse students and aficionados in art.

It’s working, too. Many museums have created virtual reality programs in an effort to share their collections worldwide. Here’s who’s doing it best.

Best virtual reality museums

Auckland War Memorial Museum

During the First World War, Maori men from different tribes came together to train as soldiers. The Auckland Museum chose to tell the stories of these men in several ways. Curators assembled letters, objects, video and virtual reality to give museum-goers a sense of what preparing for war was like.

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The virtual reality experience immerses people in a war zone, complete with explosions while they try to man a huge QF 18-pounder artillery gun. Sounds of shouting and overhead planes add to the confusion and stress to create a realistic experience.

British Museum

Tired of standing in long lines so you can see a famous piece of art – for a mere fifteen seconds? You’re not alone. Many people feel that way when trying to get a glimpse of Egyptian art. Too often, a visit to an art museum feels rushed, and you don’t get to see everything you had hoped to see.

Instead, take the virtual reality museum tour by strapping on an Oculus or Samsung Gear VR headset to walk among sculptures from ancient Egypt or check out he mummies in their collection.

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MoMA

Using Google Cardboard viewers, Museum of Modern Art visitors can enjoy immersive art experiences designed to spark social change and inspire community action. The experiences center around real-world incidents, such as the theft of art collections. Users don the VR headset to view the art and take virtual steps to solve the crime.

The Kremer Museum

Have you been to the Kremer yet?

The Kremer Collection is the first virtual reality museum of its kind. The only way you can enjoy the exhibits is through VR. According to founder George Kremer, “The Kremer Museum is a combined result of what we appreciate as collectors and art lovers, such as perfect lighting, the possibility to look at the back of the paintings, and a perfectly designed space by a world-class architect, and the hard work and vision of an incredibly committed team of highly talented and innovative producers and developers to make this come to life.”

It all happens with virtual reality.

Don’t forget the VR artists

Virtual reality museums aren’t the only ones embracing new technology.

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The artists themselves have been experimenting with VR technology. As a result, they are able to design immensely artistic simulations that provide multisensory experiences. For example, a piece of art called “The Chalkroom” depicts individual texts that float through the air and around the user. The goal is to travel among the pages of stories.

The benefit

Traditionally, art appreciation has been exclusive. You had to be in the city where the museum is located to enjoy fine art., or you missed out.

That’s not true anymore. As a result, access to art is not only immediate, but also affordable. That means that almost anyone can enjoy art if given access to virtual reality museums.


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