New generation of visitors to immerse in virtual reality

Priceless collections could be viewed virtually by the ticket-paying public in mass-markets like China, generating commercial revenue to support British museums and galleries. Computerised images may replace physical displays and curators would become “producers” of film-like content lucratively shown in multiple locations to satisfy the technological tastes of younger generations.  Museums could also achieve “brand” status as their traditional buildings begin sharing visitor footfall with concert venues capable of hosting vast virtual exhibitions, helping to make a commodity of UK cultural treasures with mixed reality gadgets.  Trials planned for this summer follow National Audit Office findings which found that UK museums suffer from underfunding, having endured grant cuts of 20% in the past ten years.  The arms-length government-backed body UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has invested £4 million in research exploring potentially exportable sources of revenue for British museums. The potentially lucrative exhibits will blend “a museum experience and movie experience” and may be “more at home at multi-purpose venues like the O2 rather than at traditional museums”. He told The Daily Telegraph:  “ I think there’s a huge global market for this.” Comparing it to the international appeal of British exported  television, he added: “I would have thought you’re looking at hundreds of millions within ten years.” With an increasingly digitally-proficient audience, it is thought museums could shift away from the traditional paradigm of “objects in a room”.