Under the guidance of the Ministry of Culture, CRTL has undertaken the responsibility of developing a model city heritage learning centre in the form of a virtual Experiential Museum (VEM). This model can well be the museological template that may be followed by many more city heritage learning centres to come up in near future under the patronage of the MoC, Government of India. The first such VEM is to be created in the Man-Mahal of Varanasi. To develop the content for this museum CRTL is collaborating with the Delhi-based Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). While for another VEM on Ajanta, CRTL has created a proposal collaborating with IIT, Mumbai.
Experiential museums are spaces for diverse audiences to engage with audiovisual resources often involving the Immersive Media presentation, Augmented Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR) Techniques. Since experience is very personal, media and data access in such museums are also customized by personal choices. The VEM intends to implement symbiotic relationship between audio-visual resources and experiential presentations, in pursuit of a common goal of providing diverse audiences a means to engage with information. While traditional museums have viewed their collections as central, museums across the world are increasingly making use of image, audio and film/ video resources, in addition to interactive technology, to achieve defined learning objectives for target groups. Hence, this museum is not only a storehouse of information, but rather a catalyst in the visitor’s learning experience.
This experiential museum may form an important bridge between audio-visual collections and varied audiences. By passing audio-visual resources through a filter of interpretative design, and using audio-visual material as an integral part of the narrative, provides a diverse group of people the environment to interact with, and benefit from access to content. While such museums need audio-visual content to absorb the visitor in the narrative, they also provide audio-visual collections an opportunity to reach out to audiences beyond scholars and researchers.
To sum up, the digital space, Virtual Experiential Museum (VEM), will contain attractive and inclusive presentations involving large multi-projector curve projection, stylized video walls, visual walk-through simulation, projection mapping on contoured surfaces, projection mapped cuisine tables, google map connectivity, multi-window synchronous display and would also provide Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality experiences. Artefact displays, 3D printing, 3D stereoscopic videos, digital music stations, walkthrough presentations of various pilgrimage/tourist circuit routes, virtual flip-through books, transparent display timelines etc. would also be provided for the visitors to enrich their experience.