For this task we were comparing the experience of actually visiting a museum or gallery to the experience of a virtual gallery and discuss the pros and cons of each. We did this task as it relates to the work we are doing which is creating a virtual gallery showing off our work so we need to know the pros and cons of a virtual gallery.
There are many pros and cons of visiting a museum or gallery in real life and of using a virtual gallery to view the artwork. When discussing these pros and cons it is important to consider all the factors, such as the scale of the object you are looking at.
Pros of visiting museum:
The pros of actually visiting a museum include you can actually see the scale of the pieces of art you are looking at, for example most people have only seen the Mona Lisa through pictures online and don’t know the actual scale of it, but by actually going to the Louvre you will be able to see the actual scale. This is the same for all pieces of art and you can’t tell the scale without actually seeing it in real life.
Another pro of visiting a museum in real life is you get the full visitor experience that is not available elsewhere. You can also see the curation of the exhibits when you go in real life which you can’t see in a virtual gallery. Actually seeing the object in real life offers a much better experience than looking at an image of it and your interpretation of the art can change depending on if you’re viewing it in real life or in a virtual environment as in real life you can see much more and it creates different feelings.
Also viewing art in real life means you can see all the finer details of it, such as the brush strokes on a painting, which gives you a greater understanding and appreciation for the art.
Cons of visiting museum:
However, there are also cons to visiting a museum in real life. These include;
The cost of visiting a museum can be quite high if you do not live close to it and have to travel a lot to get there. This could potentially keep people away from visiting museums and galleries.
Another con is some museums and galleries do not have disabled access, for example the Louvre does not have much wheelchair access and because it is so busy it would be hard for a person in a wheelchair to get around the museum and see the art pieces. This means that disabled people can not actually go to museums in real life and have to find other ways to experience the art.
Pros of virtual gallery:
One option for disabled people to view artwork is a virtual gallery. The pros of this include it is considerably cheaper than actually going to a museum. For example the Louvre guide for the Nintendo 3DS is only about £15 which is a lot cheaper than travelling to the Louvre and paying for admission, which would be quite a lot of money as you would have to pay for transport and accommodation as well as the admission fee.
Another pro of a virtual gallery is you can view a wide range of the exhibits in the comfort of your own home. This is much easier than going to the Louvre and can be available to everyone. This means that you can look at the exhibits without the huge crowds of people who could distract you or obscure your view of something.
Also a virtual gallery has detailed audio and video descriptions of what you are looking at, so you can learn more about the exhibits without having to go and see them in real life.
Cons of virtual gallery;
Virtual galleries also have cons. One of these is you can’t get any sense of scale when you are looking at a virtual image of an exhibit which can affect your interpretation of it.
Another con of virtual galleries is not all of the exhibits are available to view in them. For example the Louvre guide for Nintendo 3DS only has over 600 images of the exhibits compared to the 70,000 exhibits that are actually on display at the Louvre. This means that you are not seeing all the exhibits when you use a virtual gallery and the only way to see them all is to actually go to the Louvre museum.
Going to a museum and using a virtual gallery both have their various pros and cons and there are benefits to using both but you are able to see much more and learn more by actually going to a museum in real life. From my experience of going to museums and galleries I think it is much better to go visit a museum in real life as you can get close to the objects and see all their details and you can see their scale much more accurately.