Museum Virtual Tours in 2022

An Intro To Museum Virtual Tours

Technology is expanding faster than many realize, and it’s putting a vital solution in the hands of museums; the cost effective and scalable museum virtual tour. We’re going to talk about why a museum virtual tour is valuable, from preserving temporary exhibits to expanding the reach and influence beyond the existing population of potential visitors. We’re going to touch base on becoming a world class museum using the world wide web. Everything from the importance to persons with disabilities to their role in education more broadly. We’re going to dispel some myths and assumptions about how a virtual tour could fit into the brand of a museum, and the logistics of making one.

We’re also going to touch base on the advanced capabilities of virtual tours, allowing curators deep and cutting insight into their market. One of the very first consumers of a virtual tour was in fact Queen Elizabeth II of England. Opening the exhibit in 1993, the queen’s officials had requested titles and descriptions of each event of the opening of the exhibit. Dudley castle provided this as an explanation of the new phrase, “Virtual Tour; a cross between virtual reality and a royal tour”. From the very beginning, museum virtual tours have been used to grant access and insights not otherwise available to the naked eye.
Museum Virtual Tours
There are several reasons a museum would want a virtual tour that are often unrealized. One of the largest applications would be preserving a temporary exhibit, allowing a museum to “catalog” past exhibits. Obviously this would incur new negotiations with the temporary exhibits, but this can give your facility lasting impact when taking in and displaying new and interesting pieces. This also grants an opportunity to expose the public to new and cutting edge forms of technology, further still expanding on the attraction.

Museum virtual tours can be displayed on anything from a computer termal, to touch screens, and most importantly on virtual reality headsets. Secondly, virtual tours do not need to be comprehensive. Each museum has their own style and taste, and museums virtual tours are customizable to exacting specifications. Imagine a single panoramic image, strategically placed on the website as a teaser. They can be slowly expanded on as the exhibit comes to a close, finally more and more being added in the final weeks to generate more FOMO, and concluding with a complete and comprehensive tour for cataloging of later display.

Some of the most prominent museums in the world have museum virtual tours. Some examples are the British Museum, London, Guggenheim Museum, New York, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and Musée d’Orsay, Paris; just to name a few. The museum virtual tour in London at the British Museum showcases everything from the ancient and vital Rosetta stone, to ancient egyptians.

Museum Virtual Tours and Inclusivity

All museums share the common thread of preserving items or ideas, while educating the public at large about them. This is quite complementary to a tour’s ability to digitally duplicate and widely distribute spaces and ideas. Some curators have rightly pointed out that making these spaces available online, at no cost, could be detrimental to the income stream of the facility. This would be true if the tour was made available without restriction; however, with the use of a paywall, not only can the traffic to the virtual tour be metered, it can also be analyzed and the results deducted for insights on audience and attention not before available.

In consideration that the traffic to museum virtual tours can be metered, it does truly beckon for the best in both the technology and the facility. With the financial incentive in place, and in fact upgraded, an institution can move forward knowing they can make an engrossing, full access tour that has inclusivity in mind. Buw how can a virtual tour increase inclusivity?

By making a premium quality, digital duplicate of your space, you are then able to share that space with anyone around the globe. While there are still large and glaring inconsistencies in access to the internet regarding socioeconomic status, anyone with a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or PC- can access and utilize the tours. We can see, clearly, how a museum virtual tour is helpful in a pandemic. But looking harder, we see other advantages that speak to the ease in inclusivity that a tour provides. For persons with disabilities, perhaps an easier way to scout ahead, so that time spent at the institution is a s fulfilling and pointed as needed.

For individuals who might have sensitivity to external stimuli, being able to take in and enjoy the totality of the institution in their own spaces is a blessing. For large families who are looking to entertain or educate kids over several school grades at once, allowing each kid to visit their own institution of choice is simply the future.
Museum Virtual Tours
Field trips are a bliss for students- breaking from the mundane and exploring a new place. Being in awe and inspired, a child’s brain is thirsty for knowledge, and hungry for insight. With a museum virtual tour, no longer is the reach of a facility limited to their immediate geographical region, now they can expose themselves to the minds of people all over the world. Students from different cultures can visit a museum, making that institution truly an international destination. True inclusivity isn’t making it easier for people to get to you, it’s going to where they are. Museum virtual tours make that happen, while maintaining metered aspects like admissions, tickets, reservations and showings.

The reality is, anything an institution does to make their knowledge and information more available is nodding to the existence of a gap in education. In consideration that these tours can be viewed and consumed in full on most smart devices, even older models, means you are letting the wealth of education in your institution sink deep into the cultural roots of the next generation.

How are museum virtual tours made?

While it’s important to understand the applications of a museum virtual tour, and how they can increase awareness and accessibility to the space while generating revenue; it is equally important to have an overview of how they are made. But it is also important to understand, briefly, what a 360 degree panoramic image is, what it isn’t, and why that matters.

For a while, it was way easier and cheaper for a production company to make a virtual tour that was in reality a video. That video would usually come one of two ways, occasionally with elements of both.

Either a video which was a compilation of still images, where the screen panned in, out, and across (This effect is known in professional content generation companies as the ken burns effect). Or, the “virtual tour” would be just simply a video walkthrough. This style was picked up heavily in real estate, where the cheap- one off impact mattered little. When the sale was done, the asset was dead.

True virtual tours have always been around. And while for the top of this blog, we won’t separate out the differences between a 360 virtual tour and a 3D virtual tour. Both present similarly to the consumer, however, carry different amounts of technical information about the space (Literal distance between spaces), against educational information regarding the space. We will focus on 360 virtual tours, which are the most popular museum virtual tours.
These stunning works of art are public displays of relevancy
One of the first steps in generating a tour is to consult with experts on how to best market the facility. There, first steps can be made regarding planning and execution. There are many important things to consider when preparing for a virtual tour. First, the spaces are captured with cameras that will, at first, capture all they can see.

While indeed, there is full customization in the tours, and a lot can be done to clean and tidy up in post, it’s up to the facility to make sure things are as clean as possible.Any type of clutter or other unorganised messed will show in the tour and be quite glaring to those who are viewing it on line. It is often recommended that museums prepare for Museum virtual tours by cleaning the space as if they were cleaning for their first opening day.

Another important consideration when having a virtual tour made is timing. It’s imperative that there be as few as possible if not zero people on the tour. 360 panoramic images taken by taking several pictures at different light exposures and combining them to get the best individual picture for a high dynamic range image.

Professional virtual tour providers will have no issue working on the weekends or evenings to ensure that the generation of the tour minimally impacts Museum operations. How long it takes to generate a museum virtual tour on-site largely depends on the number of panoramic images that need to be taken and the complexity of the space. Spaces that have lots of reflective surfaces need more consideration, and simple connecting panoramic images less so. Informational tags can also be discussed, and for a museum virtual tour, it can be critical.

On the day of the shoot the photographer will start at the entrance and work a path through the museum that any other visitor would take. It’s usually best if an experienced employee or a director accompanies the photographer to ensure that all areas of the facility are covered. Each panoramic image can take less than a minute to shoot- ideally if the facility has prepared beforehand a 50,000 sq ft Museum can be captured in under 3 hours.During this time it’s important that the space is empty to ensure the best possible images result from the capture.
Museum Virtual Tours are often shot in a single day
This will also be the best time for the photographer to capture still images or other information that will need to be embedded into the tour. Still images and video can be taken and linked or otherwise embedded right into the tour for the consumption of the viewers. This can come in several forms, ideally the information can be copied directly onto digital tags. There is always the option of taking literal images of the tags and using those as icons for more information.

A conclusion on Museum Virtual Tours

In conclusion, Museum virtual tours are an imperative and impressive way to give your brand Global and international reach. Museum virtual tours can be a cost-effective and meaningful way of generating 24/7 passive revenue while also increasing your accessibility. While it can be difficult to comprehend that there is a solution to the ills that face most museums in the world today.

With the advent of technologies in production and distribution of virtual tours, They are now as accessible as they ever have been and consumer awareness of use and importance of virtual tours is increasing every day. Old ideas relating to virtual tours or other media taken inside a facility leading to a loss of revenue no longer hold true. With the implementation of paywalls you can ensure that only the right audiences get through to your tours online. From existing members to people who are looking to view the space for the very first time.

Museum Virtual Tour will help you never lose an exhibit.