As someone who is currently pursuing my Master’s in Library and Information Science, I’ve been reading widely on a lot of topics including those that also relate to museums. Many museums have been working diligently for a number of years in order to digitize parts or all of their collections to be accessed on their website. For example, one can search or browse through the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago. I had a passionate debate with a fellow student over whether digitization actually increases or decreases visits to the museum. In this debate, I can understand both sides. I truly believe that an image on a computer or phone will never replace the experience of seeing a Picasso or Monet in person. However, when I was in my undergrad, many of my classmates in our Art History class were guilty of using digital collections for our museum assignment instead of actually visiting. However, this is nothing new; students have been looking for the easy way out since the beginning of education.
Now, Google has made it even easier to browse popular artists’ works and get the information that you’re seeking. They even claim that you can “visit hundreds of museums around the world right from your laptop.” I beg to differ. While I think this is a great discovery and educational tool, I am never going to substitute my trip to MoMA for an image on Google.
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