How can cultural relics + Metaverse Museum play new tricks?

The concept of the Metaverse is getting hotter and hotter. Whether it is a technology upstart, a consumer goods company, or even the real estate industry, they are all rushing into the market, for fear of missing out. The ancient museum, which once relied on “I know” paper tape and other physical cultural and creative products, has now set its sights on the Metaverse. Recently, 60 curators and scholars from 50 museums and universities across the country jointly released the “Initiative on Museums’ Active Participation in the Construction of the Metaverse” (hereinafter referred to as the “Initiative”), calling on museums to adapt to the development of the times, give full play to their own advantages, and actively participate in the construction of the Metaverse. Metaverse. 

So, cultural relics + Metaverse, what new tricks can museums play? 

The philosophy and mission of the museum are connected to the Metaverse

The Initiative on Actively Participating Museums in the Construction of the Metaverse was prepared and launched by Shanghai University professors Duan Yong, An Laishun, Pan Shouyong, Li Mingbin and other scholars.

What is the Metaverse? The term was first coined in 1992 in the science fiction novel “Avalanche,” which depicted a sprawling virtual reality world where people were controlled by digital avatars and competed with each other to improve their status. Until now, the book describes a world ahead of its time. For the concept of the Metaverse, many experts have given their views. Professor Chen Gang and Dr. Dong Haoyu of Peking University believe that the Metaverse is a virtual world that is linked and created by scientific and technological means, mapped and interacted with the real world, and a digital living space with a new social system.

Shen Yang, a professor at the School of Journalism, Tsinghua University, believes that “Metaverse is a new Internet application and social form that integrates a variety of new technologies. It provides an immersive experience based on extended reality technology, and digital twin technology generates a mirror image of the real world. Build an economic system through blockchain technology, closely integrate the virtual world and the real world in the economic system, social system, and identity system, and allow each user to produce and edit content.” The “2020” published by the New Media Research Center of Tsinghua University —The 2021 Metaverse Development Research Report pointed out that the Metaverse is still an evolving and developing concept, and different players will continue to enrich its meaning. There are still capital manipulation, public opinion bubbles, and privacy issues in the development of the Metaverse industry. There are ten major risks, such as risk, ethical risk, and gaps in legislative supervision. The technology ecology and content ecology of the Metaverse are not yet mature. 

In this case, why does the museum enter the Metaverse? Duan Yong, on behalf of the sponsor, introduced the background of the initiative and said: “In the past two years, the concept of the Metaverse and its application scenarios, although there are still uncertain factors and certain bubbles, are undoubtedly the key to grasping the new round of technological revolution and new opportunities for industrial transformation. Strategic direction. In the process of virtualizing and digitizing the real world, the Metaverse needs a lot of material samples from the real world and cultural elements from the spiritual world to construct a digital living space that is integrated with the real social system. At the same time in the real world The best place with rich material specimens and cultural elements is the museum. The purpose and philosophy of the museum are connected with the Metaverse, and the future and mission of the museum are integrated with the Metaverse.” 

The “early taste” Metaverse in the entertainment field has a good prospect

Recently, singer Lin Junjie said on social media that he spent 780,000 yuan to buy three pieces of virtual land and officially set foot in the Metaverse world. 

At the beginning of this year, the interactive entertainment platform Ezek announced the official sale of the Phantom Bear NFT products designed and produced by Jay Chou’s staff. NFT (Non-Fungible Token) is translated into non-fungible token in Chinese. When a work of art is cast into NFT, the work becomes a unique digital asset on the blockchain. NFT is also considered to be one of the basic technologies necessary to confirm the rights of virtual items in the future Metaverse, so it is also bound to the Metaverse. 

NBA star Stephen Curry spent nearly 1.3 million for an NFT monkey avatar last August. Zuckerberg even renamed Facebook Meta, the first few letters of the Metaverse, “Meta”. Zuckerberg also said that within five years Facebook will be completely a Metaverse company. 

In addition, many brand companies of physical goods have also entered the Metaverse. Sports brand Adidas launched the first series NFT of its sports classic series Originals. The series is called “Into the Metaverse”, which was quickly sold out as soon as it hit the shelves, with a total sales of about 22 million US dollars. It is reported that buyers who purchase the collection will receive exclusive access to products, including virtual wearables that can be used on platforms such as the blockchain gaming world The Sandbox, as well as physical products such as hoodies and sportswear. 

From the perspective of the market size, there are currently a number of internationally renowned consulting institutions that have publicly expressed their optimism about the future market size of Metaverse. For example, PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that the market size of the Metaverse will reach US$1.5 trillion in 2030, and Bloomberg estimates that the market size of the Metaverse will reach US$2.5 trillion by then; Morgan Stanley predicts that the potential market space for the Metaverse in the future will be Over $8 trillion. Not only that, the Metaverse will also drive and expand the market size of other fields during its development. 

Many experts believe that from the perspective of the application scope, the current application of the Metaverse is mainly in the fields of games, entertainment and other fields, and there are relatively few applications in other fields. In the future, with the continuous improvement of Metaverse technology and industrial maturity, its application scope will gradually expand and deepen. For example, the Metaverse may have huge application prospects in social governance, public services and other fields. 

Zuo Pengfei, an associate researcher at the Institute of Quantitative and Technological Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, believes that, from the behavior of the government and enterprises, it can be seen that although the current external views on the concept and attributes of the Metaverse are still changing, the future of the Metaverse is still good. The outlook has basically reached a consensus. 

“Metaverse Tour” and “Metaverse Viewing Exhibition” have been opened

In recent years, major museums have been exploring new ways to transfer and inherit the value of cultural relics and traditional culture in the digital age. When traditional culture embraces digital technology, museums have more and more ways to play. Especially with the cross-border explosion of the Metaverse concept, many museums have also begun to try to construct the Metaverse. How to better “move” the museum into the Metaverse has become a hot topic in the cultural and blog industry. The “Initiative” pointed out that the open sharing of digital resources is increasingly becoming a generally accepted code of conduct for museums around the world. As a public cultural service organization, museums should enhance the awareness of the openness and sharing of collection resources, especially digital resources, establish the concept of win-win cooperation, fully recognize their own resource advantages, give full play to research, exhibition, education and other functional expertise, and collaboratively explore and create high-quality Application scenarios to achieve the high-quality development of the museum itself while participating in the construction of the Metaverse. 

Industry insiders believe that, in fact, museums have started exploring the construction of the Metaverse very early, including some museums have launched the “Metaverse Tour” and “Metaverse Viewing Exhibition” modes to build a fully immersive interactive digital cultural expo exhibition hall. Virtual digital people act as museum narrators, etc. 

In order to cooperate with epidemic prevention and control, the Nanjing Cultural and Expo venues are temporarily closed.However, major museums have launched online services one after another, opening the WeChat public account of “Nanjing Museum General Museum”, and one-click direct access to five major themes and 18 cultural relics held by Nanjing Museum, Six Dynasties Museum, Jiangning Weaving Museum, and Folk Museum. exhibition. These include: “Origin and Flow: Nanjing in 99 Cultural Relics”, “1420: From Nanjing to Beijing”, “Special Exhibition of Non-Paper Books and Cultural Relics”, “Ningzhenyang Three Archaeological Achievements Exhibition”, “Old Nanjing Years and Customs Exhibition”, etc. A series of major exhibitions. Through digital technologies such as naked-eye 3D, an immersive museum tour is created. 

According to the International Council of Museums report, the use of online exhibitions, exhibitions and live broadcasts by museums has increased by more than 15% globally. Obviously, in today’s increasingly advanced science and technology, more and more cultural institutions and enterprises have also joined the digital transformation team, using 3D technology to move the cultural relics in the exhibition hall into the “Metaverse”. 

The core content of the “Initiative” mainly revolves around the four points of “resource sharing, mutual benefit”, “scenario co-creation, self-improvement”, “standard co-construction, advancing with the times”, “responsibility sharing, integrity and innovation”. The “Initiative” calls for museums to keep pace with the times, seize new opportunities and meet new challenges, actively participate in the construction of the Metaverse, explore the standards and norms for the construction of the Metaverse in the museum field, and make a Chinese voice in international dialogues on related topics. . The Initiative emphasizes that integrating into the Metaverse is just the latest step taken by the museum to follow the wave of social development. In the Metaverse, museums should also follow the ethics and principles recognized by real-world museums, adhere to non-profit and public attributes, develop through inheritance, and innovate while maintaining integrity. Mi new. 

Digital collections allow precious cultural relics to enter thousands of households

From the perspective of global trends, museums in various countries are vying for the construction of Metaverse scenes, and digital collections are undoubtedly an important part of it. 

During the Spring Festival this year, many people in Nanjing have collected the digital collection “Southern Song Tiger-shaped Jade Ornaments” from the Nanjing General Museum. During the Spring Festival, Alipay’s “Fu Cards” campaign cooperated with 21 museums to develop a new way of playing digital collections. Users can scan the swipe and have the opportunity to get the museum’s customized tiger relics blessing card. After collecting five traditional blessing cards, You can also exchange excess Fu Cards for digital collections of tiger cultural relics. The Nanjing City Museum has mounted Fuka’s “Southern Song Tiger-shaped Jade Ornament”, which is 4.80 cm long and 1.9 cm high. Compared with the traditional image of the brave and majestic tiger, the mother and child tigers in this jade ornament are lying side by side, with a relaxed expression and a naive look. In the process of participating in the collection of blessings, users can randomly obtain this special cultural relic blessing card, and click to view the detailed history of cultural relics and introduction to the collection. Following the trend of cultural digital innovation, Nanjing General Museum also officially launched the “Golden Tiger Symbol” digital collection at the beginning of the year, which received enthusiastic response.

The popularity of digital collections is no longer an isolated case, but a “group portrait”. The Henan Museum released a digital collection of cultural and creative “Fuhao Owl”, priced at 19.9 yuan, limited to 10,000 copies, and sold out within a second. When the Dunhuang Academy of Fine Arts launched the “Dunhuang Feitian” and “Nine-colored Deer” payment code skins, they were sold out in seconds. The Hubei Provincial Museum once issued 10,000 digital collections of the treasure of the town hall “Goujian Sword of the King of Yue”, which were also sold out when they were launched. The 60,000 copies of “Digital Cultural Creation” launched by Jinsha Site Museum in Chengdu, Sichuan based on cultural relics such as the Sun Bird and the Golden Mask, were also sold out within 50 seconds…

The relevant person in charge of the Nanjing General Museum said that as a form of cultural innovation, digital collections use technology to link the digital world, so that cultural relics are no longer limited by time, space, restoration and other conditions, and the history and culture behind the cultural relics can be experienced in a younger age. The way is passed on, and it is also the museum that promotes excellent traditional culture and historical culture to communicate with more young people in a more innovative way.

Without physical objects, why are digital collections so popular? Blockchain technology provides new ideas for the identity authentication and protection of digital collections, and also opens up a new market. With the support of AR, VR and other technologies, users can appreciate cultural relics anytime, anywhere and in all directions on mobile devices, and learn about the vast history and ancient culture they carry. It can also be transferred and shared with friends, which not only facilitates communication and learning for cultural relic collectors, but also expands a new path for the development of ancient civilizations in the digital age.

Traditional culture is transmitted and inherited through this small screen. The digital collection of cultural relics is undoubtedly an innovation that adapts to the development trend of the times.

However, in the face of the hot concept of the Metaverse, many people in the cultural industry have also raised more questions. For example, the digital collection of cultural relics currently launched mostly adopts the simple form of transferring the image of the physical collection to the online medium, although the conversion of this medium itself is an innovation, creating the possibility for precious cultural relics to “enter thousands of households”. However, if we only stay in this single product form in the future, the regret that digital collections lack “realism” and “immersion” compared to physical collections may appear. The digital form has opened up the boundary between virtual and reality. On this basis, how to make full use of the flexibility and interactivity of digital platforms, avoid excessive homogeneity of digital collections of cultural relics, and show more diverse cultural charms, it is worthy of industry insiders. Deep thinking with enthusiasts.

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