Museums are the institutions that are dedicated to conserving a collection of artefacts as well as many other objects of artistic, cultural, historical and scientific significance. We can learn precious lessons from past achievements, failures and tragedies. As museums show histories, timelines and perspectives, they are more important today than they were ever before as they are capable of reflecting and shaping the human society. Such institutions also can promote unity and harmony on social as well as political fronts. With technological advancement and digitisation intensifying the process of globalisation, museums can play a vital role in bringing communities together. They can make remarkable contributions in preserving local culture. Since many traditional cultural practices have been disappearing with the passage of time, it is essential to plan carefully for preserving daily life for their recovery.
A culture becomes unique due to rituals, religion, food, art and other aspects. With proper documentation and sharing of a particular culture, it becomes easier for people from different cultural backgrounds to better understand it. Like many countries across the world, Nepal is also a home to copious museums and art galleries. The museum culture now seems to be gaining ground steadily even in this country of cultural and ethnic diversity. With the digitisation of many renowned museums located in various parts of the globe, the main museums of the Kathmandu Valley are now working to introduce virtual tours. These museums have begun adopting applications and websites to offer digital tours to people. With this initiative, they aim at satisfying the thirst of museum lovers, boost museum culture in the country and make museums and their collections accessible to more people.
According to a news report published in this daily on Thursday, the National Museum located at Chhauni of Kathmandu has already launched its virtual reality-based tour to enable visitors to observe its galleries and artefacts from the places of their comfort. Because of this service, those willing to access the virtual reality tour of the country's oldest museum can do it just by browsing its website. The museum, however, is going to provide brief descriptions about its artefacts. The virtual show will offer only initial taste and lure people to the museum to see more. The institution is also planning to launch a full virtual tour service for paying customers. The Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Museum and the Narayanhiti Palace Museum are also following suit. Officials at these museums are hopeful that the virtual reality will enable researchers and foreigners to study the museums and help promote a vibrant museum culture in the country.
But this new service is also likely to drive down the number of physical visitors and decrease revenue generation. Crowned as one of most beautiful museums in Asia, the Patan Museum has also finished its application and it is in the process of making it available to the public in the near future. Once this service comes into operation in full swing, people will be able to download it and get a glimpse of what is inside the museum. The museums in Nepal have recorded a sharp fall in their incomes since the nationwide lockdown began one year ago owning to lack of sales of tickets. In such a situation, the initiative is expected to be helpful for managing and promoting the museums in a more effective manner.