O 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?