Writings on the Wall #3: Museums

I recently read about the newly renovated – and partly rebuilt – Museum of Modern Art in New York in a New York Review of Books article and it said that the project cost US $ 450 million and is its third expansion in over 30 years. The newly expanded building (it now includes the adjacent American Folk Art Museum building that it acquired a few years ago) is estimating to receive around 3.5 million visitors each year, up from 1.5 million visitors in 2004.

Just as in my post on Venice, I wondered if technology couldn’t be of help here. It struck me that if the museum opened its doors to the world, through a virtual/multi-media tour of its sections for an online fee, it would save itself the trouble of having millions tramp through its precious art collection rooms on so many floors. And it would probably earn as much, if not more, since art lovers around the world would be able to enjoy its treasures. They could still keep special exhibitions open only to in-person visitors.

I don’t know about you, but I always come away from a museum wishing I could see more! And sometimes I have returned, to see a section I hadn’t been able to view on my previous visit, though that isn’t always possible. Do you think museums are only for tourists, or should local residents take pride in them as well?

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