Arianna Huffington shared her views on the new movement of museums to digitize their collections, making them viewable on the internet, thus questioning the continued relevance of these institutions.
Nothing on the web can compare with the museum experience. Seeing art up close is a personal connection; the details, the unique colors and textures, the contemplation; all senses are engaged at the viewing moment. The internet can enhance the platform, providing the history and significance of the art, but the connection is not complete.
Museums are providing great tools to expand their audience and reach out to new patrons with digitization. The comparative restoration of the Vasquez painting by the Metropolitan Museum of Art showcased a great example of this medium. Fragile Renaissance pieces that cannot be displayed are given a new audience through museum sites. The long forgotten Bernini in a museum archive can inspire the internet viewer to experience the institute’s collection personally, filling the mind with its beauty, engaging all the senses at once. This moment is what drives people to a personal visit of the institution.
Opening the world to more art is a passion of mine; the history, the patron behind the work, and the story of the artist; this correlation can be made on the internet, but the viewing is not complete without a physical visit to the museum. The small screen only tantalizes us for more.