Rosetta Stone; Image Credit The British Museum
Rosetta Stone; Image The British Museum

Any online surfer is used at least one time Google Streets application to see details about a certain location. It is one of very useful tool not only for traveling purposes but more and more a strategic issue to study road access possibilities, restaurant, shops, entertainment addresses, utilities offices, external amenities, imminent parking places or public transformation hubs.  


Today more than 2.7 billion peoples could see over 4700 exhibits and artifacts by virtually walking on the British Museum halls and corridors. This is the most important Google Street technologies deployment and largest indoor Street View mapping project in this moment. This is possible due to the partnership between The British Museum and the Google Cultural Institute (GCI). Every Internet user could get instant virtual presence in London’s flag history museum by simple clicking on the Explore the British Museum with Google” link from Google’s home page.

But British Museum Street View project is not only allowing peoples from the other side of the Globe to virtually visit all insides, offering also the exclusive opportunity to see showcase artifacts which are not available for large public from different reasons. One good example is one of the most important historical image in the world, super-fragile 6th century Admonitions Scroll  picture (complete name is Admonitions of the Instructress to the Court Ladies.) Originally painted 9 scenes scroll attributed to Gu Kaizhi (about AD 345? 406) the father of classical Chinese figure painting, is now lost but is known through this close copy made over 200 years later.

Admonitions Scroll, Scene 4; Image Wikipedia.org

The Google Cultural Institute is a most valuable world heritage launched in 2011 under umbrella of the Google Art Project. In 2012 the project put 42 new exhibits online in a most appreciated effort to make important cultural sites accessible to everyone and to digitally preserve it. Museum of Fine Arts from Boston, Galileo Museo from Florence, Museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Musei Capitolini from Rome, are only few from 800 museums and historical sites of masterpiece cultural importance hosted by CGI online heritage.

For British Museum this project is the latest in a series of digital transformation the cultural organisation has initiated in order to make its collections more visible to more people than the average 6.7 million visitors of the museum every year.

double headed snake
Double Headed Snake; Image The British Museum

The project initiators are not afraid to answer to most common question: having this online facility will be people interested to physically walk in the museum halls?

The answer is simple and is based on the increased interest opened by virtual reality to see the real things in place. This is also what I want to do next stop in London, because despite I visited BM many times, the virtual walk on the British Museum “Street View” reopened my curiosity and reactivated “being in situ” feeling.

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