Digitizing cultural heritage is the first step

Digitalisering cultureel erfgoed, hier een eerste stap 1
The interface of iMuseum, an internet application of the Vietnam Museum of Fine Arts.

Hanoi (VNA) – As an international trend, digitization can currently be applied in all areas of modern life. Culture and art are no exception, especially at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digitization is widely used in the service of preserving and displaying works of art. It also helps to revive historical knowledge. Visiting museums and historical sites in Vietnam was considered trivial. However, a lot has changed and many sites have become essential to the public, especially young people.

Step by step in the general direction

Since 2015, Hanoi’s Central House, also known as Hoa L Prison, has been equipped with a sound effects system, projectors and audio guides, making visits more lively.

In July 2020, thanks to the collaboration of sound and light effects, a nighttime discovery program for the site was launched. This helps visitors to better understand the difficult life of the prisoners, the unforgettable historical moments and the strict prison regime of the French settlers from the knowledge gained in the documents.

According to Lai Thi Minh Thu, deputy director of the research and collection department at the Central House Management Committee, the application of technology has helped to personalize the visitor’s experience. “The digitization of this heritage is based on the commissioning of audio evidence,” she says. “This tool contains 35 stories about the exhibits and the revolutionaries who died in this prison.”

Bùi Hoài Son, Director of the National Institute of Culture and Arts, believes that digitization of cultural heritage is an essential direction, enabling the preservation and use of documentaries. “Since 1997, our foundation has been implementing a program aimed at collecting, preserving and promoting intangible cultural values. These documents are very precious and it would really be a shame not to digitize them.” Before we add that nearly 500 science films, 10,000 photographs and over 1,000 documentaries have been digitized so far. “In the fourth age,” he said, “data was more precious to us than gold.”

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Digitization of the heritage has enabled the National Institute for Culture and Arts to complete the files submitted to UNESCO to include “The Worship of the Hungarian Kings at Vu Tho”, “Practices Associated with Belief in the Three Gods, Mothers of the Three Realms”, “Ví Folk Songs and Giam Lengy Tinh” on the List of Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Museums participate

In the field of museums, while digitization is booming in developed countries, Vietnam has launched ambitious projects. Over the past two years, the Museum of Fine Arts, in cooperation with a company specializing in mobile software and applications, has introduced an application that allows information to be entered on the displayed object by scanning the corresponding QR code.

Thai Hoàng Uyên, Project Manager, says: “When designing the app, we drew on the expertise of major museums around the world, such as the Met in the United States, the Louvre in France, the Rijks Museum in the Netherlands, and the National Museum of Singapore. In the first phase, we Digitizing the 100 most impressive works of our institution.”

When you visit the museum, all you have to do is scan QR codes to get high quality audio documents, images and text about the object and the location in the place. Internet visitors are presented with an album of these 100 works with all relevant information. “We also provide a search bar where visitors can enter words to find information about authors, works and materials used,” she adds.

Since the beginning of 2020, the epidemic has affected all areas of life. It has become a global concern, as normalcy has become a luxury: social distancing, theaters, cinemas, museums, etc. are closed, art galleries have been postponed or even canceled. This context has usually altered the appreciation of culture and art, which depend on assistive technologies.

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In fact, the Digitization It was made for years, long before the appearance COVID-19. But the health crisis hastened its implementation in several areas. “In the early 2000s, digitization took place Cultural Heritage Boy. Painter Nguyen Thi Son says the pandemic has accelerated this measure to preserve and showcase culture. Many museums and theaters around the world have created their own web pages or YouTube channels. More than ever, artworks are easily accessible to the public.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has an exhibition space for the places where the great painter painted. He turned to technological developments to help visitors admire the vase where he painted fifteen sunflowers as if they had just been painted. One of the museums in Japan has a large screen on which many paintings can be seen. All you have to do is click on the image of each company to collect all kinds of information about it.

A group of Hungarian artists has created the first virtual theater, where plays are broadcast via the social network Facebook. About twenty musicians from the Phiharmonic Rotterdam Symphony in the Netherlands played at home and created a very exciting symphony that attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators.

It is undeniable that the gap between the level of digitization in Vietnam and other countries of the world is still wide. However, after the country has taken its first steps in this promising field, we hope that the digitization of the national cultural heritage will progress more and more, which will allow the country’s treasures to be preserved and better presented on a large scale. In the world. – CVN / VNA

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