Online vs. offline

OO for Online vs. offline in the Blogging from A to Z challenge.

I’m having a look at what happens when you explore jewellery collections online.

So, if you’ve followed this, what do you think so far? Is it worth the time to browse images in online archives, or is a real museum visit the only thing?

I find myself struggling with this post, because I wanted to compare the two experiences. I imagined something like this:

Online: It’s always open. You can see a lot more than what is displayed in the exhibition. You don’t need hours but can spend a few moments now and then. You can do it in your pyjama. Your back won’t hurt. You have to make the coffee yourself, though.

Offline:  There is a certain atmosphere and energy in a museum building when people focus on watching and seeing things. It is special to see the real objects. Sometimes the display itself adds something interesting. You can do it together with others. And there is always the museum shop!

I want to add more to this, though. Not sure if my thoughts are clear yet, and I’m afraid my brain is offline already…

In short, I think the one does not replace the other. Aren’t we looking for different things? Online we look for images and facts or stories, we have the freedom to wander any route we like inside a collection. In real museums, we follow the curated route and we look at real objects, see colours, size, shadows, and on top, we are not alone.

Update 19 April: Ongoing thoughts (so it’s still letter O). When I published this post I still had a few thoughts unsorted. Here is what I now would like to add about online vs. offline:

Are we perhaps gradually changing the way we relate to historical objects in general? In the past, the museum visit was an isolated event, perhaps we brought home a book or exhibition catalogue. Now we can access the images and backgrounds from home, anytime. We can also embed them in our own context, whether that is for our blog, studies or inspiration. We can ourselves make links between all kinds of objects, based on our own personal perspective. No two persons would highlight the same or make the same connections based on the same sources.

I also wonder if this changes how people plan their city trips. For the kind of traveller who always includes museum visits in a short city trip, is it now easier to spend less time in museums, and instead more time just sniffing the street atmosphere?



11 thoughts on “Online vs. offline

  1. i have been enjoying your posts. this one especially. i love seeing art in person and up close but the computer has made it so easy for me to see things in places i wouldnt normally have the opportunity to visit. i can type in ‘enamel jewelry’ and instantly see so many new things-i believe it has helped fuel my designing and interpreting! blog on!

    • I’m glad to hear that you can connect to this! Yes, we do get access to a lot more these days, regardless of geographical distance. Thanks for your input here (and sorry for the delay in getting back, I had a few more thoughts around this that I have now finally added).

  2. Interesting question. I agree with the excellent points you’ve made, I don’t know if I can add much to that. Online: easy, convenient, often exciting (for its surprises), but maybe more superficial. Offline: deeper, more unique, more of an experience. What I see in person always makes a deeper, more long-lasting impression on me. Yes, because of a better sense of scale, materials, lighting etc, but also because the objects displayed are given more context, more “respect” in a way. I feel more involved; there is a deeper meaning, a sense of legacy, maybe?

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts here! It’s interesting what you say about objects being given more “respect”. The care taken to select and display them is a value in itself. I can think back of a few objects that I would love to see again in real, partly because the environment around them mattered.
      So glad to have got your input, thank you! (I have in the meantime added some more thoughts to the post).

  3. I am the kind of person who wants to read every word of the signs next to the art in a gallery or museum. Having online context gives me the chance to delve deeper into the history and not cling as tightly to it when I am actually there in person, and I can just be present.

    • So you combine the two in a way, to get the most out of it, that sounds like a great approach! Me too, I want to read a lot of background, and there isn’t always the time for that.
      Thank you for coming by and sharing your thoughts, much appreciated!

  4. We do the debate of online or offline with school all the time here! Sometimes the students prefer an online format and sometimes an online format. Of course, you are talking about looking at jewelry in a physical or online format. But I think there is that same debate about a lot of things. It is hard to say one or the other–it really depends on what you want. Visiting from A to Z Challenge at Learning at Cedar Ridge Academy and Cedar Ridge Academy

    • I’m really glad you come by and share this. I grew up in times before the internet, so I’ve seen the shift happening. Perhaps I was (wrongly) assuming that young people of today take the online world so for granted, without thinking about the differences. Great to hear that this is being discussed!
      I love it how your students are doing the A to Z, by the way! I have read some of the posts and tried to comment but kept having some technical problems, will try again.
      Thanks for your input here!

  5. Pingback: Queue | galeriaredelius

  6. The onsite viewing is the ultimate experience, but online viewing is a good way to get an overview so that you know whether you want to take the time, effort, and expense to actually visit. The online experience is a great tool to use in preparing to visit any place you go. I like to use it before a trip in order to set up my travel schedule.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

    • That sounds like a good way to approach it, to get the most out of the two options! Thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts, it’s much appreciated. More than that, it’s an honour! Thank you for giving us this amazing April challenge, it means a lot for so many of us!

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