Since the advent of civilization, human beings have been interested in collecting, keeping and displaying things hence giving rise to the concept of museums. (Drurie,1997, p. 30). Museums have been termed as having historically been repositories where real physical objects that existed many years ago are kept. They have taken it upon themselves to collect, preserve and explain these things for the current and future generations to have knowledge of their culture. Museums have perfected this role to the extent that they have been deemed mausoleums. They preserve even the dustiest glasses where they store ancient artifacts (Mareovic, 1998, p. 71).
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Changes Occasioned by Technology
However, life today has changed due to technology where everything has been digitized leading to changes in all spheres of life. Technology has taken the centre stage and anybody who does not comply with the current trends of technology is seen as lacking enlightenment. Business organizations and government sectors have embraced technology to solve all problems (Lancaster & Reynolds, 1999). Technology is applied everywhere whenever problems arise and forms the illusion that there is no problem that will fail to get a solution. The arrival of virtual technology has led to the perception that in due course, museums will be moribund or worse still be converted into archives. The reason behind this is that people are nowadays looking for information as opposed to materials and other artifacts (Bowen et al, 1998).
This proposition is not common among all the people because some people have a feeling that original objects will be in constant demand when internet users discover that they are important as part of the culture of a people. Technology can still help us discover new relations among different things such as information, experience of people and their general reaction to different issues (Teather, 1998). The relationship between the view of a museum as an archive for objects and the same museum as a place where information is available should strike a balance. Such a balance will be important in moderating the debate of the position of museums with the advent of virtual technology.
Museums have a mandate of displaying collections in an appealing and educational manner if they are to remain relevant. The digital technology can be very useful in enhancing this mission on condition that there is no indiscriminate use and users are aware of their goals. They should know what they want to achieve and how they will achieve it (Lancaster & Reynolds, 2002; Rentschler, 1999). The internet provides real cultural chances for museums alongside posing other challenges that must be put into consideration before making any decision (Sylvester, 2001).
Bowen, J., Bennett, J., Coh, H. & Johnson, J. (1998) ‘Virtual visits to virtual museums’, Proceedings of Museums and the Web Conference, Toronto, Canada. Web.
Lancaster, G. & Reynolds, P. 1999, Introduction to marketing: a step-by-step guide to all the tools of marketing, London, Elsevier Press.
Lancaster, G. & Reynolds, P. (2002) Marketing made simple. Oxford, Elsevier Press.
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Mareovic, I. (1998) Virtual museums: The challenge of Globalization in Musicology and Globalization. University of Canberra Press, Canberra.
Rentschler, R. (1999) Innovative arts marketing. St Leonards NSW: Allen & Unwin.
Sylvester, R. (2001) Creating web-accessible databases: case studies for libraries, museums and other nonprofits Information Today, Medford, N.J.
Teather, L. (1998) a museum is a museum … or is it? Exploring Musicology and the web, Archives and Museum Informatics. Web.