The Museum of Afghan Civilization is scheduled to make it’s debut in 2010. This museum is going to be completely virtual. Online exhibits are nothing new, but the idea of creating an online building to house these online exhibits is fairly novel.
The Museum of Afghan Civilization employed an architect, museum professionals, and artists, to design and assist in the creation of the virtual museum. Users will be presented with the museum against it’s virtual background the Bamiyan caves. Users will be able to view the ‘outside’ of the museum from all angles, in an attempt to make it more realistic.
The proposed interface of the museum is designed to emulate an actual museum visit. Various multimedia ‘pavilions’ will exist for users to explore. The pavilion’s interfaces will change based on which exhibits are being featured, similar to physical temporary exhibition spaces.
The virtual museum will feature images from various existing institutions, including MOMA and the Louvre. The museum also plans on featuring images of works which have been destroyed or disappeared in recent years. There is also thoughts of eventually asking Afghan citizens for contributions of photos of their own culture.
There is hope that eventually a physical version museum of Afghan culture will exist. In face of the current instability of the area, this virtual museum allows for Afghanistan’s culture to be displayed without placing physical objects in danger.
I am looking forward to seeing the finished product of this venture, and feel that it is yet another step toward the further integration of technology and heritage. The notion of an entirely virtual museum also leaves me with the question: Are physical exhibit spaces necessary to call something a museum? The name of this virtual institution the “Museum of Afghan Civilization” suggests otherwise.