Friday, September 22, 2006

Are virtual tours too informative?

As I surfed through the Globe online, a headline in the art section caught my eye: “Audible Art: The Rose Art Museum.” So, just like any diligent web surfer, I clicked on it to find a visual tour of the museum and its history given by the museum director, chief curator and educational director. The museum is in Brandeis University in Waltham. I live in Brookline and am relatively busy, so when I do go to a museum it is usually a several hour affair. This leads me to the question, why should I take two trains to get to the museum when I have it right in front of my fingertips in the comfort of my own home with a guided tour of the museum given by none other than the experts themselves? Sure, the tour is only five and a half minutes, but I felt it satisfied my curiosity on what the museum is all about. Maybe I will go there someday, but for now I have had my fill.

How much information is too much? Will people get so dependent on the internet for stimulation that it will deter them from going out and physically seeing things for themselves? I am open to online adventures, but will never stop being a skeptic of this wonderfully evolving technology. Do virtual tours like these take business away from the actual venues?

When a friend of mine asked me what I did today I simply responded, "did some reading, went to the gym, took a short tour of the Rose Art Museum...how about you?" Am I wrong to say this? Where do we draw the line between reality and virtual reality? Does the line even exist anymore?

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