Art and Design, Vol. 3, Issue 1, Mar  2020, Pages 61-68; DOI:

Exploration of the Development of Traditional Museums in the Era of Digital Media

, Vol. 3, Issue 1, Mar  2020, Pages 61-68.


Xinran Xu 1*

1 Hubei Business College, Art and Communication School, Wuhan, China

Received: 5 December 2019; Accepted: 15 January 2020; Published: 2 February 2020


Museum is the main place of human civilization inheritance and development, which is an important cultural and creative industry in the city. With the development of society and the progress of science and technology, the traditional museum display has been unable to meet peoples growing cultural and spiritual needs. In the era of digital media, we should make full use of modern information technology to speed up the digital construction of the museum. Therefore, we can strengthen the interaction between the audience and the exhibits, understand the information contained in the exhibits more thoroughly and comprehensively, and then we create a vivid and interesting exhibition atmosphere. The digital construction of the museum is an effective way to enhance the cultural competitiveness of cities. It should conform to the trend of the era and explore communication strategies under the digital media, so as to better meet the growing demand of the public for scientific knowledge and historical culture. The use of digital media for development and construction of the museum has significant improvement. Through this new platform, people begin to pay close attention to the application of digital museum. At the same time, it can bring peoples intuitive visual effects, which can not only reduce the wastage of the cultural relics itself but also can make people to enjoy the scene easier. It’s just like kill two birds with one stone. This paper aims to express the important role of digital technology in the construction of museums and calls for people to strengthen the application and innovation of the construction of digital museums.


Museum, Digital Media, Multimedia Technology

1. Development Status of Traditional Museums

Museums play an important role in the journey of human civilization. The museum is not only the position of cultural relic protection, the oasis of cultural relic collection, but also the home of cultural relic management. As the material carrier of cultural industry, the museum takes humanistic research, basic education, collection and protection of cultural relics as the means to reflect its value, and cultural heritage as its mission and responsibility.Cultural relics are important carriers of culture. However, cultural relics are not dusty antiques. The significance of museums lies not only in the collection, but also in communication.

China’s museums contain huge cultural resources. In reality, they have not been effectively developed and have not produced good social benefits. The display is the main way to the museum. Those historical collections are displayed in cold transparent glass, and the information of the collection is exported to the visitors in one direction with hardly any communication and interaction, so that the visitors can only passively receive the information without fully arouse their curiosity and interest, which do great harm to the effect of people visit. Therefore, in people' s traditional concept, the collection in the museum is " out of reach" , and the main reason for this concept is that many traditional museums ignore the rich culture and rigid display mode behind the " collection" . In the era of digital media, this traditional display form has been difficult to meet the aesthetic needs of visitors in the new era.

2. Construction Strategy of Museums in the Era of Digital Media

Museums are not only the exhibition hall of historical and cultural resources and the treasure house of national culture, but also the epitome of human civilization and a new chapter in the inheritance and development of human history and culture. In the era of digital media, museums should provide visitors with deep immersive experience, transforming from traditional visual appreciation to multiple sensory experience such as visual, auditory, tactile and olfactory experience to touch the hearts of viewers, enhance the enthusiasm and autonomy of visitors, so we can contribute to the transmission of museum knowledge and the dissemination of culture. With the rapid development of science and technology, the museum can not only make use of computer technology and multimedia technology, but also make use of various virtual reality technologies to let people travel in the virtual exhibition space, making people feel as if they are in a real situation to visit. With comprehensive utilization of digital technology to build intelligent museum, we should basis on the media communication, respect the value of the user, innovative products and scenes, form a new aesthetic experience, which is conducive to the protection of cultural relics and cultural heritage, let the people learn more about history and culture knowledge in the space of cultural heritage, promoting the development of culture and art to high and multidimensional.

2.1. Multimedia Interactive Devices to Optimize User Experience

With the development of science and technology, multimedia technology has been widely applied to all sectors of society. In terms of the way of obtaining information, people can directly feel the convenience brought by multimedia technology. Traditional media, such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television, are too single for people. They lack initiative in obtaining information and are not comprehensive enough. People cannot choose the information they want according to their subjective consciousness. They often need to find what they want after repeated trial and error and elimination. Over time, this passive and inefficient way will make people feel disgusted. The emergence of multimedia solves this problem well. People can not only quickly find the information they want, but also interact with the information through audio, network, video and other technologies, which greatly improves their enthusiasm to obtain information. Multimedia technology can integrate multiple information and present it according to people' s own needs. Moreover, compared with the original boring and boring way, it has become a good sensory experience.

More and more people tend to acquire information through multimedia in their life, enjoying the convenience and novelty brought by it. In the future construction, museums should conform to the trend of this great era and actively participate in the construction of digital technology to realize their own transformation and complete the qualitative transformation. In order to guide visitors to better understand the relevant information of the collections, the museum should actively develop a multimedia navigation system, so that visitors can use the touch screen to retrieve the relevant collections they want to know and interested. The application of multi-media touch screen system provides a more convenient and simple way for visitors to inquire information. Visitors can inquire a series of information such as the settings of various venues and the specific contents of cultural relics exhibition, so as to work out their favorite visiting route. Nowadays, more and more museums take the initiative to adopt information technology, change from traditional two-dimensional static exhibition to three-dimensional dynamic exhibition, from one-way explanation to multi-interaction, which gives ancient cultural relics new vitality.

2.2. Virtual Reality Technologies Enhances Immersion

Around the author discovered in the research process, the vast majority of the museum are only using the traditional product display so far,, rarely combined with human-computer interaction form of virtual reality technology in digital museum, and only a minority of the museum in an attempt to combine with the new technology is applied. Among them, the more successful attempt is the VR games in Hubei Province Museum. Visitors have gradually lost interest in traditional ways of viewing cultural relics through glass cases, annotating through pictures and texts or explaining by commentators. Virtual reality technology makes use of human-computer interaction mode, allowing visitors to have an immersive feeling through VR glasses, handles and other devices, and can set and operate according to their own wishes [5].Virtual reality technology brings real situation, fun games and interactive experience, which is different from the boring and silent viewing mode in the past. This immersive experience greatly arouses the strong interest of visitors, especially the attention of children.

Therefore, virtual reality technology is like a powerful drug injected into the heart of traditional museums to make them revive. Compared with the objective physical world we live in, the most important characteristic of digital technology is its virtuality. The use of virtual reality technology makes people feel as if they are in the collection, which makes them more intuitive to experience, and learn, intimate contact with national treasures and cultural relics, and unprecedented interaction.

2.3. The Network Virtual Digital Museum Breaks the Limitation of Time and Space

Today' s society has entered into the digital era, people through multimedia successfully got rid of unilateral receive information, and human-computer interaction way to active learning, and more comfortable in their own home or designated place to study, can through multimedia mobile devices anytime, anywhere learning information and knowledge.

In the traditional sense, museums show real exhibits to visitors and enable them to experience the art and historical and cultural background of the collections, which is one of the advantages of physical museums. However, physical museums are often restricted by objective factors such as space and time, so they have strict requirements on opening and closing time and number of visitors, making it difficult for visitors to visit and learn at anytime and anywhere. At the same time, due to the restriction of space factors, many large exhibits cannot be exhibited one by one, and it is difficult for visitors to visit the site. These are the defects of traditional museums. But with the help of digital technology, these defects can be effectively remedied, and the limitations of space and time can be broken down. Visitors can visit the site at the right time to improve their viewing experience and realize independent and intelligent viewing [6]. The use of digital technology, digital museum is a collection of related data and data uploaded to the Internet, full range and real-time display entity exhibits in the museum, visitors can follow one' s inclinationsly ornamental in the network virtual space, for each piece of the exhibits and story behind to conduct a comprehensive understanding of history and culture, experience the unique charm of traditional culture [7].

3. Construction Principles of Museums in the Era of Digital Media

Many of the objects in traditional museums cannot be shown to the public due to various factors. However, this is not the case with museums in the era of digital media. To some extent, museums break the limitations of display conditions, places, time and space, and one-way transmission. Through the Internet, people can browse the digital collections without leaving home, ensuring the safety of the collection and satisfying people' s curiosity [8]. At the same time, researchers can download the collection information, so that the collection can be further studied. The popularization of multimedia technology provides us with the convenience of study, life and work, but there are also some problems. Museum is a complex exhibition space, involving many fields. If the exhibition design blindly pursues cool special effects and weakens museum exhibits, it will have the opposite effect to the purpose of museum exhibition. Therefore, we should pay attention to some construction principles when applying multimedia technology.

3.1. Cultural Content is the Core

Exhibition is the most basic product provided by the museum. It should be noted that any technology is only a means, and the culture carried by the museum is the real charm of the museum. The cultural relics on display in the museum are a kind of non-renewable resources, and the collection will inevitably be damaged in the process of exhibition. However, these losses are irreversible, which is a very painful loss for human cultural history. Therefore, we should strengthen the awareness of cultural relic’s protection. Therefore, displaying in the digital museum can effectively reduce or avoid the appearance of this kind of loss of cultural relics in the process of displaying and moving. Many museums in China pursue the application of sound, light, electricity, 3D, 4D and other scientific and technological effects, but the contents of the exhibition are lack of new ideas. In terms of content presentation, the main presentation form of mobile terminal digital museum is text and picture, which is the same as the problem of webpage digital museum presentation. The presentation form of relevant content is single, and the method is the same, and there is a lack of new creativity. Content design should be based on scientific and reasonable principles, that is, to ensure the scientific content, logical rationality [9]. The content of the digital exhibition hall is displayed in a step-by-step manner according to the principle of gradual progress. The design and exhibition content of the digital museum should be consistent with the actual physical exhibition hall, and the theme should be consistent, instead of being fabricated. When designing the digital museum, the designer can design and add contents according to the principles of presentation aesthetics and the objective and actual conditions, but the overall content should not be separated from the actual exhibition hall.

3.2. Enhance the Visitors' Experience

The digital exhibition allows visitors to more directly feel the historical background and cultural connotation of the exhibits, and to establish contact with the exhibits through human-computer interaction. Change the mindset of visitors and enhance their experience. With the development of new media technology, the audience can gain more experience when visiting a museum, in the process of the rich experience of feelings of wonders, historical relics for children, visiting a museum is no longer a stodgy browsing cultural relic, but can have more fun, pay attention to the audience' s participation experience, from the perspective of the audience to design exhibition, the exhibition to add more interactive scene is the trend of the development of the museum. For digital museum, it USES digital technology to break the limitation of one-way information transmission, which is very beneficial to arouse people' s enthusiasm of visiting. At the same time, it is difficult for traditional museum guides to satisfy people' s individual preferences, but the digital museum allows people to freely choose the collection they are interested in to visit.

The face-to-face communication between the audience and the exhibits in the museum can not only better understand the information about the exhibits, but also enhance the interest of visitors. Therefore, the application of multimedia technology in the exhibition design of museums should meet the needs of the audience, not only make the information of the exhibits communicated to the audience in a simple form, but also make the multimedia equipment easy for the audience to operate, to provide an enjoyable experience for the audience [10]. The promotion and use of digital museum is related to the ease of operation. Only the easy-to-operate platform can get the recognition of users. In the design of digital museum platform, we should analyze the characteristics of different learning subjects, such as age, thinking characteristics; behavior characteristics, cognitive level and interests, and take into account their learning needs at different levels Develop flexible learning content and forms to meet the audience' s independent, diversified learning needs.

3.3. Focus on the Upgrading of Technology and Related Supporting Facilities

Digital museums are no longer limited by space. At present, it is difficult to store a large number of collections in the storeroom and exhibition hall of traditional museums, which will affect the in-depth development of the museum industry to some extent. Digital collections can be stored and displayed through media, which not only reduces storage costs, but also expands storage space. This requires in the museum display design, the equipment variety is numerous, multimedia technology equipment requirements are more stringent. In order to complete data collection and arrangement, the digital museum must be equipped with hardware such as printer, computer, camera and scanner, etc. However, due to various adverse factors, the hardware configuration of many museums is not up to the standard, which is difficult to ensure the quality of digital collection and improve the effectiveness of digital collection. Traditional museum exhibitions tend to be too streamlined and do not highlight the focus and relevant information of exhibits, while digital exhibitions can make up for this and effectively integrate and share resources [11]. Multiple museums have joined forces to digitize all the resources and then share them so that visitors can get more comprehensive information.

Although many large museums have rich collections of cultural relics, many of them cannot be displayed due to insufficient exhibition space. In many museums in other cities, tourists cannot visit them, which is bad for the inheritance and dissemination of museum culture. In addition, the number of visitors increased sharply during the holidays, and many museums reduced the huge flow of visitors by restricting the flow, which made many visitors who came to visit the museum unable to enter the museum and disappointed. By establishing a digital museum, visitors can view and appreciate the collection resources in the museum through the network platform. Digital museum can break the limitation of time, space and region, so that people can enter the museum through the network platform without leaving home [12]. Therefore, when choosing multimedia technology, we should consider whether to adapt to the display design after, and have the ability of further update and expansion, in the later period, the equipment can be easily and quickly updated and maintained. Of course, we should buy the multimedia equipment that suits ourselves condition according to the actual situation.

4. Conclusion

Museums are important temples for the protection and inheritance of human civilization. They are bridges connecting the past, present and future. In the process of building a smart museum, on the one hand, we should give full play to the characteristics of its public cultural institutions and present the rich human historical and cultural resources to the public in a unique way. On the other hand, we should keep our feet on the ground and pool our wisdom, constantly innovate, excavate and refine the value of cultural relics and resources, and find a path suitable for our own development. We need to change the past single management model, and turn to the dynamic management of cultural heritage resources. Thus, it will be transformed from the former information management of cultural relics, from the physical display of cultural relics in the past to the vivid display of cultural relic’s resources by using multimedia technology, thus promoting the transformation of traditional museums and digital museums into smart museums, as an important carrier of historical and cultural resources.

Museums have a great responsibility to disseminate cultural heritage. The application of new media technology has brought great changes to the way museums pass on cultural heritage. The application of digital technology can bring more real and intuitive experience to people, so that the connotation of cultural relics can be better understood and mastered by people, which is of great significance to the cultural heritage of museums. Therefore, the traditional museum should follow the trend of the era, strengthen the construction of digital technology, enhance its own advantages, and better fulfill its mission.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this article.


This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.


The author would like to acknowledge Jack Liu, my tutor, who has taken his precious time off from his tight schedule, reading my thesis carefully and offering me constant encouragement, valuable suggestions and enlightening instructions, which contribute to the completion of my thesis.


© 2017 by the authors. Licensee International Technology and Science Press Limited. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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